"People may find it hard to believe, but this country still doesn't require our drinking water systems to remove prescription drugs and many other contaminants from our tap water," says Erik Olson, director of NRDC's Health program. "In the same way that many of our roads and bridges are falling apart, our drinking water systems are aging, and most use outdated treatment technologies that don't remove a wide variety of today's contaminants, ranging from pharmaceuticals to many industrial chemicals and pesticides.
These pharmaceutical agents include analgesic, antibiotic, anticoagulant, antidepressant, antihistamine, and antihypertensive drugs, hormones (from oral contraceptives and hormone-therapy), and muscle relaxants, among others. Lithium (used to treat bipolar disorder), carbamazepine (an analgesic/anticonvulsant), metoprolol (an antihypertensive), and buproprion (an antidepressant) were the most frequently detected drugs in the water samples after treatment. " Pesticides and antibiotics are also a problem.
According to a new report issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 77 million people — roughly a quarter of the U.S. population — spread across all 50 states were served by water systems reporting violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2015. The offenses ranged from arsenic to nitrate contamination and included often-serious failures to test or report contamination levels.
The NRDC has also expressed its displeasure to the proposed cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2018 budget, noting that programs designed to safeguard the nation’s drinking water could be severely affected.