Caffeine "is a bitter substance found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, chocolate, some nuts and certain medicines. It has many effects on the body's metabolism, including stimulating the central nervous system. This can make you more alert and give you a boost of energy."
As a Pollutant
Because humans and animals often do not fully metabolize pharmaceuticals in their body, they can excrete drugs or their breakdown products, which may the enter the environment.
Caffeine in Sewage Sludge
Caffeine is often found in sewage sludge. In the Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey, a 2009 test of 84 samples of sewage sludge from around the U.S., the EPA found caffeine in 39 samples (46%) in concentrations ranging from 65.1 to 1,110 parts per billion. There are no federal regulations governing how much of this drug may be present in sewage sludge applied to land as fertilizer.
In Drinking Water
An Associated Press investigation found that, of 62 metropolitan areas in the U.S., only 28 tested for pharmaceuticals, and 24 found pharmaceuticals in the drinking water when they tested it. The following cities tested positive for caffeine: Atlanta, Cincinnati, Columbus, OH, Indianapolis, Louisville, KY, Minneapolis, Northern New Jersey, Philadelphia, Portland, OR, and Washington, DC.
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- Caffeine: Medline Plus, Accessed August 28, 2010.
- O.A.H. Jones, N. Voulvoulis, and J.N. Lester, Human Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater Treatment Processes, Environmental Science and Technology, 2005.
- Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey Report, US EPA website, Accessed August 28, 2010.
- AN AP INVESTIGATION : Pharmaceuticals Found in Drinking Water, Associated Press, Accessed September 3, 2010.
- Pharmawater-Metros-By-Results, Associated Press, Accessed September 3, 2010.
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