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Dosed Without Prescription: Preventing Pharmaceutical Contamination of Our Nation’s Drinking Water

The presence of pharmaceuticals in our waterways and drinking water has gained national attention among lawmakers, regulators, and the public. Prescription drugs can enter water through manufacturing waste, human or animal excretion, runoff from animal feeding operations, leaching from municipal landfills, or improper disposal. With many questions still unanswered regarding the scope of the problem and its consequences for human health and the environment, NRDC conducted an extensive survey of the scientific data, legal analyses, and existing advocacy campaigns around this issue. In this January 2010 white paper we offer our findings and several recommendations related to drug design, approval, production, use, and disposal to curb the flow of pharmaceuticals entering our water systems and lessen the impacts of the pollution they cause.

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