Posted by: rainworks | December 25, 2009

Feds mull regulating drugs in water

Relative to this article; “Feds mull regulating drugs in water” is the widespread concern by DHS that terrorists could contaminate public and private municipal water resources in communities; nationwide and even globally. If this catastrophe ever did happen, it may take years to re-purify each resource and its infrastructure.

Summary of Associated Press news article: Feds mull regulating drugs in water

A burst of significant announcements in recent weeks reflects an expanded government effort to deal with pharmaceuticals as environmental pollutants:

– For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency has listed some pharmaceuticals as candidates for regulation in drinking water. The agency also has launched a survey to check for scores of drugs at water treatment plants across the nation.

– The Food and Drug Administration has updated its list of waste drugs that should be flushed down the toilet, but the agency has also declared a goal of working toward the return of all unused medicines.

– The National Toxicology Program is conducting research to clarify how human health may be harmed by drugs at low environmental levels.

The Associated Press reported last year that the drinking water of at least 51 million Americans contains minute concentrations of a multitude of drugs. Water utilities, replying to an AP questionnaire, acknowledged the presence of antibiotics, sedatives, sex hormones and dozens of other drugs in their supplies.

Waste pharmaceuticals reach the environment when people take medicine and excrete the unmetabolized portion. Millions of pounds of waste drugs also escape into waterways from hospitals, drug plants and other factories, farms and the drains of American homes, the AP has reported.

On its new list, the FDA, which regulates medicines, says only 10 active ingredients in controlled-substance drugs need to be flushed to keep them away from children, abusers and pets.

At the same time, the agency announced it is working with partners to develop programs to return unused drugs instead of flushing them down the drain. The agency wants “to encourage their development and future use for all drugs,” declared Dr. Douglas Throckmorton, deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Returned drugs are usually incinerated, which destroys most active ingredients. Community drug takeback programs have increased considerably since the AP’s PharmaWater reports.

The recent announcements have been striking in their speed and breadth. Just last year, Ben Grumbles, Silva’s predecessor at the EPA Office of Water under President George W. Bush, said only one pharmaceutical was under consideration for the list of candidates for water standards. And it was the heart medicine nitroglycerin, better known as an explosive.

Yet some environmentalists say the government should take even bolder action. “Identifying the nature and scope of the problem is not the same thing as addressing the causes of the problem,” said George Mannina, an environmental lawyer in Washington.

He said the EPA should do more to keep drugs out of the nation’s water supplies and not rely on expensive filtering systems at water treatment plants.

Jon Holder, a vice president at Vestara, a seller of equipment to manage waste drugs, said the EPA should be more aggressive about enforcing hazardous waste laws that already apply to some drugs used by hospitals.

For complete story see: AP Enterprise: Feds mull regulating drugs in water

Dec 22, 4:14 PM (ET)


Contaminant Candidate List 3 (CCL 3)

CCL 3 is a list of contaminants that are currently not subject to any proposed or promulgated national primary drinking water regulations, that are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems, and which may require regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The list includes, among others, pesticides, disinfection byproducts, chemicals used in commerce, waterborne pathogens, pharmaceuticals, and biological toxins. The Agency considered the best available data and information on health effects and occurrence to evaluate thousands of unregulated contaminants. EPA used a multi-step process to select 116 candidates for the final CCL 3. The final CCL 3 includes 104 chemicals or chemical groups and 12 microbiological contaminants.

Overview of CCL 3 Process (see 116 item list of Chemical and Microbial Contaminates)


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