U.S. manufacturers, including major drug makers, have legally released at least 271 million pounds
of pharmaceuticals into waterways that often providethe federal
government has consistently overlooked, according to an Associated Press investigation.
Hundreds of active pharmaceutical ingredients are used in a variety of manufacturing, including drugmaking: For example, lithium is used to make ceramics and treat bipolar disorder; nitroglycerin
is a heart drug and also used in explosives; copper shows up in everything from pipes to
contraceptives.Federal and industry officials say they don't know the extent to which
pharmaceuticals are released by U.S. manufacturers because no one tracks them — as drugs.
But a close analysis of 20 years of federal records found that, in fact, the government
unintentionally keeps data on a few, allowing a glimpse of the pharmaceuticals coming from