Philadelphia Finds 56 Drugs in Its Water

PHILADELPHIA - A total of 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts have been detected in this city's drinking water, largely in tests conducted last year, according to the Philadelphia Water Department.

The list of drugs is the longest among 62 major water providers surveyed by the Associated Press. However, this city's water officials say they probably found more drugs simply because they did more testing. They say their water is safe to drink.

Researchers found trace concentrations of drugs including antibiotics, pain relievers, heart and psychiatric drugs, and veterinary medicines. Here's the list of drugs and some of their uses:


Amoxicillin - for pneumonia, stomach ulcers

Azithromycin - for pneumonia, sexually transmitted diseases

Bacitracin - prevents infection in cuts and burns

Chloramphenicol - for serious infections when other antibiotics can't be used

Ciprofloxacin - for anthrax, other infections

Doxycycline - for pneumonia, Lyme disease, acne

Erythromycin - for pneumonia, whooping cough, Legionnaires' disease

Lincomycin - for strep, staph, other serious infections

Oxytetracycline - for respiratory, urinary infections

Penicillin G - for anthrax, other infections

Penicillin V - for pneumonia, scarlet fever, infections of ear, skin, throat

Roxithromycin - for respiratory, skin infections

Sulfadiazine - for urinary infections, burns

Sulfamethizole - for urinary infections

Sulfamethoxazole - for traveler's diarrhea, pneumonia, urinary and ear infections

Tetracycline - for pneumonia, acne, stomach ulcers, Lyme disease

Trimethoprim - for urinary and ear infections, traveler's diarrhea, pneumonia


Acetaminophen - soothes arthritis, aches, colds; reduces fever

Antipyrine - for ear infections

Aspirin - for minor aches, pain; lowers risk of heart attack and stroke

Diclofenac - for arthritis, menstrual cramps, other pain

Ibuprofen - for arthritis, aches, menstrual cramps; reduces fever

Naproxen - for arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, aches; reduces fever

Prednisone - for arthritis, allergic reactions, multiple sclerosis, some cancers


Atenolol - for high blood pressure

Bezafibrate - for cholesterol problems

Clofibric acid - byproduct of various cholesterol medications

Diltiazem - for high blood pressure, chest pain

Gemfibrozil - regulates cholesterol

Simvastatin - slows production of cholesterol


Carbamazepine - for seizures, mood regulating

Diazepam - for anxiety, seizures; eases alcohol withdrawal

Fluoxetine - for depression; relieves premenstrual mood swings

Meprobamate - for anxiety

Phenytoin - controls epileptic seizures

Risperidone - for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe behavior problems


Caffeine - found in coffee; also used in pain relievers

Cotinine - byproduct of nicotine; drug in tobacco, also used in products to help smokers quit

Iopromide - given as contrast agent for medical imaging

Nicotine - found in tobacco, also in medicinal products to help smokers quit

Paraxanthine - a byproduct of caffeine

Theophylline - for asthma, bronchitis and emphysema


Carbadox - for control of dysentery, bacterial enteritis in pigs; promotes growth

Chlortetracycline - for eye, joint, other animal ailments

Enrofloxacin - for infections in farm animals and pets; treats wounds

Monensin - for weight gain, prevention of severe diarrhea in farm animals

Narasin - for severe diarrhea in farm animals

Oleandomycin - for respiratory disease; promotes growth in farm animals

Salinomycin - promotes growth in livestock

Sulfachloropyridazine - for enteritis in farm animals

Sulfadimethoxine - for severe diarrhea, fowl cholera, other conditions in farm animals

Sulfamerazine - for a range of infections in cats, fowl

Sulfamethazine - for bacterial diseases in farm animals; promotes growth

Sulfathiazole - for diseases in aquarium fish

Tylosin - promotes growth, treats infections in farm animals, including bees

Virginiamycin M1 - prevents infection, promotes growth in farm animals (AP, Jeff Donn, 3.11.2008)