Pharmaceuticals in drinking water

Pharmaceuticals in drinking water. Reason to Worry?

As reported by Good Morning America, ABC News, The Associated Press®, and The Water Quality Association:

It has been all over the news lately about the issue of prescription and over the counter drugs found in drinking water supplies. And this is becoming a major concern to the public. And experts are worried about the effects this may have on people's health.

Pharmaceuticals in drinking water. Reason to worry?


Furthermore, tests have found many types of drugs in water supplies. And this includes antibiotics and hormones. Not only are these drugs in the drinking water a big concern. But it is also a concern that people are ingesting mixtures of more than one drug that weren't ever meant to be taken together. Which makes matters even worse by causing drug interactions and side effects..

How are these medications getting in to the water? Consumers eat pills and their bodies don't absorb all the medication so it gets passed through and flushed down the commode. Wastewater gets treated, goes into rivers reservoirs and water treatment plants and then brought back to the consumers. However, most water treatment facilities do not remove all of the drug residue. Recent studies have shown startling effects on human cells and wildlife.

Animals are drinking it too

Animals take medications too. Pets are treated for all types of illnesses and cattle are given steroids and growth hormones which are also not fully absorbed and get passed through.

There are no sewage treatment plants specifically designed to remove pharmaceuticals in drinking water. Evidence has also shown that adding chlorine to treat water can actually make some drugs more toxic.

Research has shown that small amounts of medications have had adverse effects on human cells and and contaminated waters have damaged wildlife especially fish. No one knows what long term effects can happen due to years of exposure to these drugs. The only way to remove pharmaceuticals in drinking water is by reverse osmosis filtration. You can find these systems on our reverse osmosis page starting at $199.

Read this article reported by ABC News and Good Morning America about the investigation by the Associated Press®:

Drugs in the Water: Reason to Worry?

Associated Press Probe Finds Several Kinds of Pharmaceuticals in Major Drinking Water Supplies

You may be taking drugs every day and not even realize it. A 5 month investigation conducted by the Associated Press. Found low levels of pharmaceutical drugs -- including antibiotics, mood stabilizers and sex hormones -- in the drinking water of at least 41 million Americans. The AP's investigative team found traces of drugs in 24 of the 62 major metropolitan water systems it checked.

Have a glass of water in Philadelphia, for example, and you're drinking tiny amounts of at least 56 pharmaceuticals or their byproducts. Lake Meade, which is about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas. Supplies drinking water for Nevada, Arizona and California. And testing found trace levels of birth control, steroids, narcotics and other drugs in that water supply.

"It's a wake-up call for America." Said Richard Pienciak, the AP's national investigative editor. "And the unanswered question at this point. Is whether 50 years of exposure to small amounts of pharmaceuticals will have long-term adverse effects on the human body. "

How do all those drugs get in the water?

People's bodies don't absorb all the medication they take. So some of it is excreted and flushed into the sewers. And sewage treatment plants don't remove the drugs. So the untreated water then flows into lakes, rivers and reservoirs. And finally to drinking water plants, which typically don't screen for drugs.

And scientists are seeing effects on animals. Because some male fish, for example, have developed female traits. And they have reproductive problems. Scientists believe the cause may be exposure to human birth control hormones. "There is no way that having pharmaceutical drugs in the water supply is going to be of any benefit." Said David Carpenter, of the Institute for Health and Environment at the State University of New York in Albany.

Many combinations of contaminants

In addition, with so many drugs in the water supply. People are ingesting them in combinations never intended. And medical experts worry that overexposure to antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance. Also an inability to fight infection. The pharmaceutical industry points out the levels of drugs detected are minuscule. And it says the amount of medication in the water supply. Is the equivalent of a single small pill in an Olympic-size swimming pool.

"No studies have demonstrated any effects on human health." Said Marjorie Powell. An attorney who is representing the pharmaceutical industry. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a statement that it is concerned about "a growing number of pharmaceuticals in water." But still, the EPA says water in the United States is some of the safest in the world.

There is some new advice to avoid exacerbating the problem. Instead of flushing unneeded medications down the toilet. The new recommendation is to discard drugs by diluting them with water or coffee grounds. And then putting them in a tight container, and throw that into the garbage.

Filtering drugs in water

The best way to filter drugs out of tap water is called reverse osmosis. But it's considered too expensive for treatment plants to implement. Without proof that the pharmaceuticals in the water are a real health threat.

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Here are some excerpts from the WQA Fact Sheet about drugs in drinking water:

90 Percent of oral drugs can pass through humans unchanged. Filtering systems in the home provide the best technology available for treatment of drinking water. In addition to pharmaceuticals in the drinking water. Water quality experts are examining other emerging contaminants. Such as those found in personal care products and pesticides. These are often referred to as endocrine disrupting chemicals. Home filtering systems have also been proven to treat threats such as lead and mercury.

Less than two percent of all water consumed in the home. Is ingested by humans. Making these "point-of-use" systems the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Home filtering systems act as a final stage of contaminant removal. And can further purify water for drinking. It is generally cost prohibitive for utilities to use systems such as nano-filtration. As well as long contact activated carbon. And reverse osmosis. Reverse Osmosis technology has proven successful at removing many contaminants in home water treatment systems.

We offer a simple, cost-effective solution.

With our reverse osmosis systems starting at $199.

So remember that the best way to filter drugs out of tap water is called reverse osmosis.Which we have starting at $199. We make it affordable for the consumer to have clean, pure great tasting water.

Sources: Good Morning America, ABC News, Associated Press, Water Quality Association.