Antibiotic-Resistant DNA: The Latest Threat to Your Drinking Water

With the rise in prescription and nonprescription drugs contaminating our drinking water, is it any wonder scientists are now detecting the DNA that makes germs resistant to antibiotics in greater numbers, even in locally treated drinking water.

Rather than focusing on the presence of antibiotics, researchers tracked the occurrence of antibiotic-resistant genes (that stick around and spread long after the targeted drugs have dissolved) with previous tetracycline and sulfonamide use (linked to urban and farm environments) in various northern Colorado streams.

The presence of antibiotic-resistant genes was as much as thousands of times higher in water connected to farms and urban environments, and it was detected even in what experts consider pristine sources too. Moreover, wastewater treatment systems aren't able to treat these genes, and even the presence of cancer-causing chlorine doesn't eradicate them.

Findings like these are a good reminder to have your water analyzed soon. Even if you feel safer because you stay away from tap water, please don't be fooled: You still wash your hands and laundry and bathe...

Science Daily October 26, 2006

MSNBC October 23, 2006

Environmental Science and Technology August 15, 2006