Big Pharma's wastewater pollution problem
Photo: David Woodfall/Getty Images
Contaminants from drug manufacturing facilities have been tainting wastewater with dangerously high concentrations, according to an investigation from STAT.
Why it matters: Polluting rivers and lakes with pharmaceutical runoff is not illegal, but can be harmful to wildlife and the environment — and wastewater treatment plants don't have the ability to remove pharmaceuticals.
- The U.S. Geological Survey found that discharges from seven treatment plants had "very high levels of some drugs."
- Downstream from a plant in Morgantown, West Virginia, an anti-seizure medication was measured at nearly 90 times the amount considered safe for wildlife.
- Hospitals also contribute to drug pollution, releasing antibiotics and cancer drugs into the water.
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