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Source: DNAinfo

Hospitals and Nursing Homes Contaminating New York's Water Supply with Drugs

BY HEATHER GROSSMANN
DNAINFO REPORTER/PRODUCER

Posted: January 13, 2010
Originally Published: January 13, 2010

MANHATTAN — Hospitals and nursing homes are flushing everything from hormones to painkillers, putting the drinking water of New York's residents at risk, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s office said Tuesday.

So far, only trace amounts of pharmaceuticals have been discovered in the city’s drinking water, but an investigation by Cuomo's office ended in five facilities in the city’s watershed agreeing to end the practice of dumping the toxins into the water supply.

“The nine million people who get their water from the New York City Watershed enjoy some of the cleanest, safest and best water in the world,” Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.

“These ground breaking settlements provide a new model to implement immediate and sensible precautions to keep waste drugs out of the drinking water supply.”

Studies suggest that low levels of pharmaceuticals can be harmful to aquatic life, although the long-term effect on humans is not yet known, according to Cuomo’s report.

“When we fix our morning coffee it should include sugar and milk, not Ritalin and antibiotics,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.