September 12, 2011
A new report from government investigators says a task force responsible for studying the risks of pharmaceuticals in drinking water is at an impasse. The report says its been five years since federal regulators were told to decide whether to limit prescription drugs in U.S. drinking water. The task force appears to be no closer to understanding the problem or whether the contaminants should be regulated under the Clean Water Act.
The new report by the Government Accountability Office shows a large number of prescription drugs in the U.S. water supply including hormones, antibiotics and painkillers. But the extent of the contamination and whether it poses a risk to human health remains unclear.
A government work group in charge of finding the answer was created in 2006. The group, Pharmaceuticals in the Environment, included represntatives from six agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administsration. The group generated a draft report but it was never released because of internal disagreements. The GAO report calls for the creation of a new, permanant task force to investigate the health impact of drug’s in drinking water.