Study finds hormones, medications in Illinois groundwater

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Scientists at the University of Illinois say they’ve detected prescription and over-the-counter medications in groundwater in southwestern Illinois.

The university’s Prairie Research Institute study had researchers collect 58 water samples from eight springs and five cave streams during 2014 and 2015. Researcher Walt Kelly says medications and personal care products were detected in 89 percent of those samples.

Scientists say the two most common products found were triclocarbans, which are used in antibiotic soaps, and the cardiovascular drug gemfibrozil. Researchers say contaminant levels were “well below” human dosages but they say even low levels can affect aquatic organisms.

The researchers also found hormones in 23 percent of their groundwater samples, which Kelly says “can cause a lot of damage to fish and possibly other animals.”