Traces of potentially dangerous medicines may be contaminating tap water and putting unborn babies at risk, scientists have warned.
There are growing concerns that powerful and toxic anti-cancer drugs are passing unharmed through sewage works and finding their way back into the water supply. The Government is taking the threat so seriously it has asked scientists to start testing untreated river water at the point it is abstracted for human consumption. Although the levels of individual prescription medicines are thought to be too low to pose a direct threat to health, some researchers are concerned that a mixture of drugs could be harmful to foetuses.
Experts will meet in the next few weeks to decide which five drugs to test for and where sampling will take place. The Thames Valley is the most likely location.
Doctors are most concerned about 'cytotoxic', or cell-killing, cancer drugs. They are taken by 250,000 Britons. The drugs are easily dissolved in water and are flushed from the body and into sewers largely unaltered, remaining highly toxic. They are hard to destroy in water treatment plants. The trials will also test for anti-inflammatory drugs, sedatives and at least one illegal drug such as cocaine or heroin.
Source - Daily Mail