Researchers have found high concentrations of numerous chemicals in treated wastewater in India which they say come from local pharmaceutical companies.
A team of scientists led by Joakim Larsson from Goteborg University in Sweden found that the water from the Patancheru Enviro Tech plant in the state of Andhra Pradesh, where these companies discharge their trash, contained 21 different drug components.
Some of these were in the highest concentration ever detected in nature, according to the Associated Press.
As this water eventually finds its way to human and animal water supply, the local populations – some of them extremely poor – are being exposed to potentially harmful chemicals.
Given the presence of powerful antibiotics in the water samples, concerns have also been raised about proliferation of drug-resistant bacteria in the environment.
Dr A. Kishan Rao, who has treated patients in the region for 30 years, acknowledged the presence of resistance and told the AP that "European countries and the U.S. are protecting their environment and importing the drugs at the cost of the people in developing countries."
The Pancheru region of India is home to numerous companies producing drugs for international markets. By 2025 close to 80 percent of generic drugs sold in the United States will come from India and China, according to Global Insight.