The Environmental Protection Agency continues to surprise and amaze; after eight years of sitting on the science and doing very little protection, it is on the move. Now it is looking at what is in our drinking water, and considering regulating chemicals used in hormone replacement therapy and in birth control pills, where about 85% of the hormone is peed out into the waste water system. Some scientists believe that these hormones can affect children in the parts per trillion level, and are causing men to have smaller penises, low sperm count, bigger breasts, testicular cancer and even possibly fewer boys being born. Girls get obesity and early puberty. As one scientist said on the program the Disappearing Male,
"We are conducting a vast toxicological experiment in which our children and our children's children are the experimental subjects."
A Canadian study looked at what happens when you spike the punch with birth control pill hormones; they dumped it into a lake, to a concentration of five parts per trillion. It delayed sexual development of both sexes of the gloriously named Fathead Minnow and the population crashed.
I once asked someone working in water quality in my city if he tested for such things and he said no. I asked why, and he said "I don't want to know"- there is very little one can do, it can't be filtered out at such low levels.
The EPA is also looking at agricultural pesticides, microbes, commercial chemicals, and chemicals used in Scotchgard and Teflon. It is quite the list, and includes many chemicals used in agriculture, industry and the military. (Including perchlorate, a key component in rocket fuel and critical to the space shuttle) See the whole list here.
It is all part of a "Contaminant Candidate List"- a "multi-step CCL process", just looking and not regulating yet, but a lot of phones are ringing around the country right now.