Winter Norovirus Outbreaks Linked to Drinking Water

The Canadian Press reports that drinking water may be behind winter outbreaks of norovirus.

Norovirus, also known as “stomach flu” or gastroenteritis, infects people much more frequently during the winter. Canadian researchers found that outbreaks are more likely to happen the week after water temperatures drop below a certain point.

The findings suggest that certain environmental conditions allow noroviruses from sewage to find their way back into drinking water. Continue reading…

Global Warming Increases Waterborne Pathogens

While the different computer models of global warming don’t agree on everything, they do agree that warmer temperatures will lead to increased rainfall. This increase in rainfall will in turn lead to more disease-carrying agents in our drinking water.

Heavy rainfalls often trigger sewage overflows that contaminate drinking water. Consequences will be most severe in the nearly 1,000 U.S. cities (including New York, Washington DC, and Milwaukee, and Philadelphia) that have sewer systems which use the same pipes for storm water and sewage. When the pipes cannot handle heavy rain, raw sewage spills into drinking water supplies. Continue reading…

Pharmaceuticals Contaminate Drinking Water

MSNBC reports that 46 million Americans are drinking water contaminated with a vast array of pharmaceutical drugs – everything from chemotherapy medications to hormones.

Scientists believe that most pharmaceutical contamination comes from drugs that are excreted by patients and then flushed down toilets. But U.S. hospitals and health facilities also flush an estimated 250 million pounds of drugs each year! Once these drugs go down the drain, they often end up in water supplies. Continue reading…