A River Runs Through It

What goes down the drain eventually bubbles up in rivers and streams, according to a U.S. Geological Survey report on 140 waterways in 30 states. The stuff comes from farms and factories, as well as toilets, sinks and medicine chests. Environmentalists fear that even trace amounts of some pollutants might increase resistance to antibiotics, disrupt reproductive cycles or act as carcinogens. But in most cases, scientists don't know enough about exposure to contaminants at minute quantities to say what dangers, if any, they pose. Among the 95 chemicals tracked:

Insect repellents Found in 74% of samples; 1.1 p.p.b.*

Caffeine Found...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!