Pharmaceuticals found in drinking water, affecting wildlife and maybe humans

Feb 2006
A vast array of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.

To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville, Ky.

Water providers rarely disclose results of pharmaceutical screenings, unless pressed, the AP found. For example, the head of a group representing major California suppliers said the public "doesn't know how to interpret the information" and might be unduly alarmed.

How do the drugs get into the water?

People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue.

And while researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals, recent studies which have gone virtually unnoticed by the general public have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.

"We recognize it is a growing concern and we're taking it very seriously," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Associated Press: Pharmaceuticals found in drinking water, affecting wildlife and maybe humans

What?s in your medicine cabinet affects aquatic life
Nov 2012
Gamma Solaris
I sell water...lots of it. Pure, clean water. Nothing like it. Recycled water's great for golf courses, though...I'll give it that. Fore!
Feb 2006
Man-made Pollutants Finding Their Way Into Groundwater Through Septic Systems
Released: 2/10/2015 10:43:30 AM

USGS Release: Man-made Pollutants Finding Their Way Into Groundwater Through Septic Systems (2/10/2015 10:43:30 AM)

A water test performed last March at the Scituate Reservoir — the drinking-water supply for 60 percent of Rhode Islanders — revealed trace amounts of a synthetic steroid found in performance-enhancing drugs and pharmaceuticals.

The synthetic hormone 4-Androstene-3,17-dione is used in bodybuilding supplements and dietary pills. It’s also known as andro, the performance-enhancing drug (PED) tied to the Major League Baseball steroid scandal of the 1990s and 2000s.

Scituate Reservoir Tests Positive for PEDs ? ecoRI News

May 2013
You're fine. These people who constantly worry about GMO's and Pharmaceuticals and Vaccines really need to take a chill pull. You're fine, you're not going to die.