EPA is asked about checking illicit drug levels in Irish water

Photo: Kate O’Connell: “I think in London the eels were behaving bizarrely in the Thames at some point.” Photograph: Alan Betson

Data involving 50 cities published in 2015 found that London’s river Thames was the worst for cocaine levels in sewage

The environmental watchdog has been asked what it is doing to monitor the presence of illicit drugs in Irish water following research in some European cities that traced high amounts of cocaine.

Appearing at a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was told the issue was important and required attention.

Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell said a number of recent reports had revealed high levels of illicit drugs in drinking water supplies, and that it was a potential threat to human health.

“I think in London the eels were behaving bizarrely in the Thames at some point,” she said.

“[I am] deadly serious – there is a number of European countries where drinking water has been found to have a quantity of drugs be they illicit or otherwise which I would be very concerned about in terms of foetal development and in terms of just regular development.”

EPA director general Laura Burke said the agency was required to test for a wide range of substances in drinking water, but would have to seek clarity regarding illicit drugs.

Ms O’Connell said “illicit or otherwise”, the issue of drugs in the water supply was […]

More about pharmaceuticals in our water supplies — including more about eels and other aquatic wildlife:

Concentrations of Pharmaceuticals in Freshwater Increasingly Globally

Is Our Water Supply Disrupting the Human Endocrine System?

Water Quality and Emerging Pollutants: addressing new global challenges

Human Medicine Loading River Creatures With Dozens of Drugs

Understanding chemical byproducts formed during water treatment

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EPA is asked about checking illicit drug levels in Irish water
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EPA is asked about checking illicit drug levels in Irish water
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EPA's director general said the agency was required to test for a range of substances in drinking water, but would seek clarity regarding illicit drugs.
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The Irish Times
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