What a trip: Drugs in US drinking water

A five month investigation by the Associated Press has discovered that small quantities of drugs, including antibiotics, sex hormones, and anti-seizure compounds, have been found in public drinking water supplied to over 40 million Americans across the US.

While the concentrations are so small they have to be measured in parts per billion or even parts per trillion, and water companies insist these levels are within safety limits, the AP said the long term effects on people’s health of so many prescription drugs and over the counter medicines such as acetaminophen (paracetamol) and ibuprofen, even in tiny amounts, are starting to worry scientists.

Drugs and their derivatives get into the drinking water supply because when people on medication go to the toilet they excrete whatever the body does not absorb and any matabolized byproducts. Water companies treat the waste before discharging it into rivers, lakes and reservoirs, and then treat it again before it enters the drinking water system. However, the various treatments don’t remove all traces of drugs.

For five months, the AP National Investigative Team visited treatment plants, interviewed over 200 scientists, officials and academics, analyzed federal databases and reviewed hundreds of scientific reports. Read the entire article at Medical News Today.

CNN also reported on this topic.

It’s distrurbing, but not at all surprising. It does stress the importance of safely discarding medicines. The best way is to put the old medicine in a plastic bag with some old coffee grounds (or other item that is displeasing to animals and humans) and putting it in the trash. Of course, once the bag is opened or punctured, the drugs can still be washed away into steams, lakes and eventually back into drinking water. Some states have come up with a drug recycling program, but those are rare and are limited in what they can take back.

As we see male fish developing female traits it’s obvious this is a situation to take seriously. And it’s not just drugs for humans that are causing these issues, it’s also drugs given to domestic pets and antibiotics given to stockyard animals raised for food.

Americans and our animals are way over-medicated.

Advertisements

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Joseph on March 13, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    There are a few filters on the market that are certified for the removal of synthetic organic chemicals (SOCs) and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). Most prescription and over the counter drugs fall under those categories. Check them out http://www.waterfiltercomparisons.com

    I hope you find this information useful. Until there’s some standard set for the removal of prescription and OTC drugs I guess it’s up to us to do it on an individual basis.

    Reply

  2. Great stuff I will keep reading. And looking around at your great content. Its a scary world, thats why the warning about not flushing perscription drugs.

    Reply

  3. Interesting article and great site.
    Something to think over – as in the long run it may help improve your health.
    Well I could certainly use it with my current flu symptoms.
    Cheers.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: