A federal survey that found trace levels of medications in rivers and streams throughout the U.S. could prompt the Food and Drug Administration to revitalize its environmental investigations into drug safety. The first-of-its-kind survey of more than 100 waterways found low levels of dozens of antibiotics, hormones, painkillers, cough suppressants, disinfectants, and other products excreted by humans and animals. Many of these substances fall through regulatory cracks, because they are not defined as pollution under clean water laws, and the FDA has not examined the environmental impact of most drugs since 1997. As a result, the long-term health effects of exposure to the contaminated water are unknown. The hydrology program of the U.S. Geological Survey is studying whether any contamination reaches drinking water, but the program is slated to be eliminated under proposed Bush administration budget cuts.