[Pharmwaste] Fw: FYI: Bay State Worsens Prescription Drug in Drinking Water Problem

Greene.Cynthia at epamail.epa.gov Greene.Cynthia at epamail.epa.gov
Tue May 13 09:32:18 EDT 2008


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Cynthia L. Greene
Senior Advisor
US EPA New England
1 Congress Street, Suite 1100 (SPP)
Boston, MA 02114-2023
Tel: 617-918-1813
Fax: 617-918-0813
greene.cynthia at epa.gov


----- Forwarded by Cynthia Greene/R1/USEPA/US on 05/12/2008 02:47 PM
             A/US                                                    To 
                                      Cynthia Greene/R1/USEPA/US at EPA    
             05/12/2008 02:43                                        cc 
                                      FYI: Bay State Worsens            
                                      Prescription Drug in Drinking     
                                      Water Problem                     

 Bay State Worsens Prescription Drug in Drinking Water Problem           
 Author: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER)        
 Published on May 12, 2008 - 7:39:08 AM                                  
 Boston, May 12, 2008 -- Massachusetts is pursuing policies that         
 aggravate contamination of its drinking water with pharmaceuticals and  
 personal care products, according to legislative testimony released     
 today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The  
 Bay State is moving to let hospitals, nursing homes and other           
 facilities with potential to discharge high concentrations of           
 medications, hormones, dietary supplements, cleaning agents into        
 groundwater near municipal and private drinking water wells.            
 Chemicals in over-the-counter and prescription drugs as well as         
 personal care products (PPCPs) are not completely metabolized by the    
 human body and thus end up entering rivers and groundwater that supply  
 our drinking water. Even minute doses of these chemicals, which are not 
 screened in water treatment, can affect human health, especially        
 children, the elderly, and people with immune deficiencies.             
 Many of these chemicals are endocrine-disrupting compounds that either  
 block or mimic natural hormones, thereby disrupting normal functioning  
 of organs. Constant exposure through drinking water is particularly     
 worrisome to a growing network of scientists and public health experts. 
 The only sure strategy is to prevent the chemicals from entering        
 drinking water in the first place. Yet, in a regulatory action that     
 would frustrate a prevention strategy, Massachusetts is poised to       
 permit construction of hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living     
 facilities in areas influencing municipal drinking water wells (i.e.,   
 classified as "Zone II").                                               
 "Massachusetts appears to be giving only lip service to the problem of  
 PPCP contamination," states New England PEER Director Kyla Bennett, a   
 former EPA biologist and lawyer in testimony to be delivered tomorrow   
 before a special hearing of the Joint Committee on Public Health and    
 the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture   
 on "Reports of Pharmaceutical Contamination in Public Water Supplies".  
 "The state's new proposed regulations will reclassify nursing homes and 
 hospitals as 'residences' therefore making it easier for these          
 facilities to discharge into the groundwater affecting municipal        
 Aggravating the danger is that nearly half (47.8%) of groundwater       
 discharge permits in the state are in significant non-compliance with   
 their permit limits, according to FY 2007 posted by the state           
 Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). This means that the       
 chemical discharges into groundwater are likely much larger than        
 officially established limits and are, essentially, unmonitored.        
 "Besides lacking a coherent strategy for addressing this problem, our   
 DEP is actually facilitating even more contamination of our water       
 supplies," Bennett added. "Prevention is essential because there are    
 tens of thousands of pharmaceuticals on the market, with thousands more 
 new products introduced annually, and we cannot track all these         
 chemicals, let alone anticipate the untold synergistic effects of all   
 the possible chemical combinations."                                    
 Website: www.peer.org                                                   
 © Copyright 2007 YubaNet.com                                            

Christian Daughton, Ph.D.
Chief, Environmental Chemistry Branch
Environmental Sciences Division
National Exposure Research Laboratory
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
944 East Harmon
Las Vegas, NV 89119
daughton.christian at epa.gov

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