Senator's Provision Calls for EPA Study on Pharmaceuticals

In response to reports of trace amounts of pharmaceuticals, including estrogen and codeine, found in New York waterways and around the country, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced legislative action to study the presence of these drugs in drinking water and the long-term health effects on children and families.

Gillibrand will work to move her provision when the Senate considers comprehensive legislation to improve water infrastructure across the country.

"As a lawmaker and mother of two young children, I expect that America's drinking water is clean and free of these kinds of pharmaceuticals," said Gillibrand. "As we upgrade our failing water infrastructure, it is important that we also address the safety of our drinking water. Right now the federal government does not have adequate data on the long-term health effects of these trace chemicals. Parents count on the government to ensure clean, safe drinking water for all our families."

The provision would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to study the presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in water, identify exactly what is found and at what level, where it's coming from, and how to control, limit, treat, or prevent the dissemination of pharmaceuticals in drinking water. EPA will have two years to produce the study.

As a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Gillibrand will play a leading role in drafting the Water Infrastructure Financing Act. Communities across New York State are struggling with deteriorating water infrastructure and the tremendous costs to rebuild.

"In my travels across the state, I've found that local officials are emphatic about the need for more federal funds to help local communities rebuild and update failing water infrastructure," she said.

According to the press release, Gillibrand will fight to increase the authorization of funds under the Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Funds, and make sure New York receives its fair share of the funding and will push for funding for energy efficient upgrades to water and wastewater facilities that will reduce operating expenses and ease the local tax burden.