Sunday, March 09, 2008

AP - Already, though, troubling studies indicate that traces of pharmaceuticals may be harming fish in New York City's Jamaica Bay, within sight of Manhattan's skyscrapers. Researcher Anne McElroy at Stony Brook University has found feminized male flounder there, and she links them to high levels of the female hormone estrone or other estrogenic chemicals discovered in the waterway.

Estrogen also has been found in the city's watershed in recent years. Upstate, the geological survey and state health agency also detected the heart medicine atenolol; anti-seizure drugs carbamazepine and primidone; relaxers diazepam and carisoprodol; infection fighters trimethoprim, clindamycin, and sulfamethoxazole; pain relievers ibuprofen, acetaminophen and codeine; and remains of caffeine and nicotine.

Despite all that, the federal government considers the New York City system to be so clean that it need not filter most of its water, as most big cities are required to do. When the filtering waiver was extended last year, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg exulted: "I've always thought that New York City has some of the best water around, and now we've got confirmation from Washington."

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