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Low levels of three medications were detected in treated water
Recent data released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) show that a dozen antibiotics are present in the Scioto River in Ohio, and three antibiotics were detected in Columbus, Ohio, treated drinking water, according to a report by NECN.com. The USGS report indicated that although the antibiotics were detectable, they were present at levels 1,000 to 10,000 times lower than more commonly detected pollutants.
The city of Columbus paid $125,000 in 2005 to fund the study. Although there are no government limits on antibiotics and other drugs in drinking water, the city wanted to determine pollutant levels so it could be ready if regulations are changed. Scientists are currently studying the effects of antibiotics and other prescription drugs in water sources, and have yet to determine whether they pose a major threat to human health.
Antibiotics are part of a new category of pollutants that also includes other prescription drugs like antidepressants and birth control, over-the-counter products like bug repellant, and household cleaners. Previous tests have shown that Columbus drinking water contains at least 17 pollutants in the new category.