Over-the-counter and prescription drugs, including antibiotics, have been discovered in drinking water from wells supplying homes in the state, say researchers from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Up to six different pharmaceutical compounds were discovered in some of the samples taken from 26 households with private well. The most common were the antibiotics ofloxacin and sulfamethoxazole.
The researchers tested only for seven compounds and say the water samples could have contained others that weren't detected. Although the amounts were tiny, lead researcher Faith Kibuye warned that "even at low concentrations, pharmaceuticals could interact together and influence the biochemical functioning of the human body."
The drugs can get in the water from human waste, and from people tipping the drugs down the toilet.
Around half the American population gets its drinking water from ground-water aquifers, and 13 million households use private wells for their drinking water.