Keep it in perspective

I am once again disappointed in the national reporting on some scientific findings. The latest incident is a story by the Associated Press about pharmaceuticals detected in the nation's drinking water.

Dozens of various prescription and nonprescription drugs were found in the water supplies of several cities. That is not that surprising, given that a similar story recently found birth control drugs in streams and rivers. But in checking several of the stories I found no reports on the concentrations of these drugs. And that is typical of this type of alarmist reporting.

New scientific tests can find contaminants at the level of one part per billion or even one part per trillion. To put that in perspective, one part per billion is the equivalent of one drop in a 75 foot long swimming pool. That's not much no matter what the substance might be.

Now, it may be cause for concern because fish and wildlife can be affected by some of these drugs at very low concentrations. But I would like to know more detail about the findings. Apparently, the AP didn't care to put that in the story. Until the reporters get that information, I'll hold off on being alarmed.