Associated Press Probe Finds Drugs in Drinking Water

By: Christy Smith


For the past five months Associated Press has investigated the safety of drinking water. The results of the probe find drugs in the drinking water of many major, urban areas public water supplies. The probe finds such drugs in the drinking water sex hormones, estrogen, radiation or chemotherapy prescriptions, mood stabilizers, painkillers, anti-convulsions, heart medicine and antibiotics.

New Jersey water supplies showed angina for heart patients and mood stabilizers while in the San Francisco water supply is was a sex hormone. New York public water supplies showed antibiotics, heart drugs, estrogen, tranquilizers and mood stabilizers. In California, 18 different drugs were found while in Philadelphia, 56 different drugs were detected. All told, they tested and found prescription drugs in 24 major city public water supplies. Of course, commonly found over-the-counter drugs were detected such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

So, how do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water? Good question, many hospitals and treatment centers dispose of sewage waste into the public sewage systems. These are now reclaimed, distilled and recycled due to droughts and water shortages. Drug use in Americans has risen 12% in the past 5 years. The United States now spends 3.3 billion dollars on non-prescription drugs and 3.7 billion dollars on prescription drugs. These all flow back into our water supply which is recycled. Into our groundwater and aquifers they go, through farming operations and feedlots for plant growth. Our meat herds also have steroids for more muscle and poundage.

Take the case of a Nebraska feedlot where cattle are given time-released steroids through an ear tag. When a downstream water supply was tested, the chemical tests came back 4 times higher downstream than upstream. The native fathead minnow species was found to have low testerone levels and small heads downstream. For more normal levels, a check found this was the case in the fathead they were upstream from the feedlot.

The chemicals in our water supply can affect the natural evolution of humans. The same types of drugs that are in the water supply are also the same type of drugs in your drinking coming out from your public water supply. Even bottled water is not safe as it isnt regulated and come from tap. There is even a company boasting itself as NY Water New Yorks tap water.

The EPA and Department of Natural Resources confess that there are no treatment plants set up to treat prescription drugs in drinking water. This is because it is too costly to do on a large-scale basis. Household filtration systems and reverse osmosis can remove prescription drugs in drinking water but this has to be done on a household level at this time being.

It is time now for your own home water treatment options if you are concerned with drugs in the drinking water. How do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water? Its not a pretty picture but thank goodness now there is a way to get them out.

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