EPA Called Upon to Respond to Drugs-in-Water

WASHINGTON — Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ, who chaired an April 15 US Senate hearing on pharmaceutical compounds in US drinking water supplies, said that the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) response to the situation was insufficient, according to an April 15 Associated Press (AP) report.


After the hearing, he told the AP, “To me, it represents a sleight of hand that we are familiar with here.”


Lautenberg, who called the hearing after the AP reported in March that at least 41 million Americans receive drinking water containing an array of pharmaceuticals, was referring to the testimony provided during the hearing by EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Benjamin H. Grumbles.


According to the AP report, Grumbles faced criticism during the hearing from Lautenberg and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA, when he testified that the EPA is “very concerned. … We’re taking this very seriously,” yet did not offer specifics.


Lautenberg and Boxer, who chairs the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, pressed Grumbles for specifics, and noted that the American public should not have learned about trace levels of pharmaceuticals in their drinking water from an investigative news report.


Lautenberg told Grumbles the EPA must write regulations to monitor the increasing levels of pharmaceuticals getting into drinking water supplies across the United States, according to an April 19 Gannett News Service report in the Asbury Park Press.


According to the AP, Boxer also called on Grumbles to release records from a White House task force that is supposed to be developing a federal plan to research pharmaceuticals in the environment. AP requested the records earlier this year in a Freedom of Information Act request, as WaterTech Online reported.

 

To read the full AP report, click here.

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