Why Are There Prescription Drugs in Your Drinking Water?

The Associated Press National Investigative Team recently unveiled their 5-month long study of prescription drugs in our drinking water. Unfortunately they found the problem was widespread.

Their team visited treatment plants, interviewed over 200 scientists, officials and academics, analyzed federal databases and reviewed hundreds of scientific reports. Their conclusion was unanimous, there are drugs in your drinking water

The question is how do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water? Very easily judging by the amount of drugs found in the drinking water, however the answer is also complicated.

It’s disturbing but not at all surprising when you realize the many sources of these drugs.

The first most obvious source would be people flushing their old medicine down their toilets. This has been the standard way to dispose of medicine for years. It can’t get in the hands of children, no one can steal it, it can’t end up being accidentally taken.

Of course everyone presumed it just harmlessly dissolved. Then when the drinking water was treated at the water plants any residue would be destroyed and purified.

Everyone presumed wrong. The medications did dissolve. Unfortunately the water purification plants cannot remove every last trace. There is a small amount that is passed on to you.

The importance of safely discarding old medications is now being preached nationwide. Some places are even recycling medications for use in free clinics. Hopefully as the public is educated this source of contamination will be eliminated. Unfortunately this is the only source easily taken care of.

When the alert went out that a probe finds drugs in drinking water, all prescription drugs were considered. However these trace amounts also included veterinary drugs.

Pets are now treated for a wide range of ailments, often with the same drugs as humans. Approximately $5.2 billion of veterinarian drugs were dispensed last year according to data from the Animal Health Institute.

When these drugs are dispensed to pets, what their bodies need are absorbed, however what they don’t need is excreted in their waste products. Not all of these waste products are collected and disposed of in the correct manner. Through the action of rainfall these waste products find their way into rivers and streams, and eventually to your local water plant.

Animal feed lots are of course high on the list of answers to how do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water.

Unfortunately the truly big source is human waste. Like the veterinary medicines our bodies use what they need and eliminate the rest. Ours are flushed down the toilets everyday. They go to the sewage treatment facilities and are treated and discharged into lakes, rivers and streams.

That same water is then drawn into the drinking water facilities where it is treated again and sent on to us. But, the EPA says there are no sewage treatment plants specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals.

People lucky enough to have their own water filtration equipment remove a little more of the drug residue, but not every house has a water filtration system.

There is growing concern that combinations of drugs even in small amounts may harm humans over decades of consumption. Water unlike food is consumed in sizable amounts everyday. There are currently no good solutions to this health concern.

Your best protection lies in filtering your own drinking water. The next time you read “probe finds drugs in drinking water” rest assured it won’t be in your drinking water.