Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is really, really trying to atone for her past as a lawyer who lobbied hard for big tobacco. A few weeks ago she sponsored a bill that would make the FDA regulate cancer-causing agents found in baby products. Now the New York senator is sponsoring an amendment to study the presence of pharmaceutical drugs in drinking water and their long-term health effects on children and families.
In 2007, an Associated Press investigation reported that water supplies across the United States contained a number of drugs — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers, and sex hormones — that water treatment plants don’t remove. Now Gillibrand — who a decade ago tried to shield damning tobacco research from the public — wants the government to study the health effects of pharmaceutical waste in our water.
Give her credit: Since coming to public life, Gillibrand has voted to regulate tobacco products, even though she has received campaign contributions from the industry, and she’s doing good work on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, promoting health-conscious legislation. Hey — sometimes, when you get chewed out for doing a bad thing, it can convince you to turn your life around.