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"I'll Have the Water With Estrogen, Please."

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Mar 10, 2008 3:09PM

2008_03_cst_front_300.jpgYou have to love the Sun-Times and their front pages. We love the contrast of the cute little girl, her hair in ringlets, enjoying a cool glass of water (and from the way she handles that pint glass, she must be Irish), juxtaposed against the headline "NEW WORRIES IN OUR WATER." The inference being that, by the time she turns ten she'll have developed a baritone speaking voice, a mustache, osteoporosis, thinning veins and possibly testicles.

The story is an AP report that tested the drinking water of 24 metropolitan areas and found a veritable cocktail of prescription drug traces in the water. The study found everything from ibuprofen and antibiotics to prescription drugs and even hormones in San Francisco water (natch!). Although our local water supply wasn't among those tested and Department of Water Management spokesman Tom LaPorte says that our water is safe, the study raises the question of how our water is being treated.

The trace levels of drugs found in the tested drinking waters are low, but still raise the possibility of affecting our cellular structure and future health concerns from prolonged consumption. The reason it's now coming out is because water providers don't release the results unless pressed. A group of California water suppliers said that the results aren't disclosed initially because the public "doesn't know how to interpret the information'' and might be rightly unduly alarmed.

Now, before some of you start crowing about the merits of bottled water, the AP story does point out that most bottled water comes from the same potable sources and also do not filter out the trace pharmaceuticals. With this story breaking on the eve of World Water Day on March 20, it raises concerns about if our own water supply is as safe as that of an undeveloped nation.