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Prescription drugs found in drinking water

An Associated Press report found a "vast array" of pharmaceuticals in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, the AP reported Sunday.

The concentrations of these drugs, including anti-biotics, mood stabilizers and sexual hormones, are tiny, and utilities insist their water is safe, but the discovery has many doctors worrying about the effects of pharmaceuticals on long-term health.

The traces of drugs that are not absorbed by the body are flushed down the toilet and eventually find their way to the water supply. The water is cleaned at water treatment plants, but some of the pharmaceutical residue is cannot be removed.

The situation is "undoubetdly worse" than the AP report's findings.

The federal government has no regulations about perscription drugs in drinking water, even though the number of U.S. perscriptions is about 3.7 billion.

"People think that if they take a medication, their body absorbs it and it disappears, but of course that's not the case," scientist Christian Daughton, a scientist with the Environmental Protection Agency, told the AP.

Recent research has shown that ingesting trace amounts of unprescribed drugs can have adverse affect on human health, causing cancer cells to proliferate too quickly, kidney cells to grow too slowly, and blood cells to show biological activity associated with inflammation.

Studies have also shown that the drugs are having negative effects on fish, worms and plankton.