Scott Fallon reports for
Scientists are taking samples of the Hudson River this month in an ambitious plan to measure how much pharmaceutical pollution gets washed into the waterway during heavy rains and to pinpoint its source.
Anti-depressants, blood pressure medicine, decongestants and other medicines have already been detected in the Hudson in preliminary samples. The latest round of testing is a larger sweep of the river, including the portion that passes by New Jersey, at a time of the year when pollution overall is washing into the Hudson at a greater rate due to runoff and sewage overflows.
Residue from medicine has made its way into rivers, streams and sources of drinking water for decades, but scientists have only begun identifying it recent years as testing has improved.
Little is known about their health effects on humans, but pharmaceuticals have had a major impact on wildlife. The Hudson study comes on the heels of a federal report that showed male fish in New Jersey’s Wallkill River — a tributary of the Hudson — were developing female reproductive characteristics, mostly likely due to hormone-based drugs that made their way into the water.
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