Traces of Drugs Found in U.S. Drinking Water

By: Christy Smith

Traces of sedatives in New York City tap water, Ibuprofen and naproxen in Washington, D.C., anti-epileptic drugs and anxiety drugs in California- these are just a portion of the alarming facts that recent reports have concluded regarding the quality of water that is supplied to majority of the population of United States. While we become accustomed to the water companies and governments denial on the issues concerning the contamination of most of the countrys watersheds, we tend to make little of the news that we see on TV, regarding the seriousness of the effects of the drugs found in US drinking water.

So how exactly have these drugs in our drinking water reach us?

The water that we get from the faucet in our homes is not new, it is actually treated. What we get is actually recycled water. Sourced from the nearest and cleanest watershed in our area, water passes through a treatment facility, where technology tries to decontaminate the water supply. After undergoing a series of water treatment method, it is finally released through the pipe that leads to your home. What most of us realize is that contamination not actually happens from the source. It starts from us, people. Some people take in medications for health reasons. These drugs are in fact not completely absorbed by the body. So traces of medicine are carried through the urine that goes into the septic tank. With septic tank failure, the chemicals are likely to reach into the water basin that basically flows through our local watershed.

Also, think about the number of pharmaceutical plants in the country. United States is actually only of the leading produces and innovators in manufacturing most of prescription drugs that are available all over the world. The manufacturing plants of these companies are essentially built near a body of water. Understandably, a plant near a river or near the sea will be contaminated by the by-products produced in manufacturing the medicine that they sell. This way, industrial plants is a primary reason why traces of pharmaceutical drugs in our drinking water.

Small concentrations of pharmaceutical drugs such as anti-seizure, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drugs were discovered present at the samples that were sourced from the facility that supplies the 1 Million total population of Arlington County, Falls Church and parts of Fairfax County with running water. A combination with caffeine, disinfecting chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs were found in 24 out 28 metropolitan areas in United States. Other forms of drugs found in US drinking water include carbamazepine, sulfamethoxazole and monensin and other veterinary antibiotics. We must understand that these chemicals have adverse effects to healthy people. Hence, we should start taking this issue of drinking water contamination to heart and devise a way to protect ourselves especially our family from its effects.

The threat posed by the large scale contamination of drinking water emphasizes the need for more efficient and reliable water treatments systems in our locality. If the government and the companies that provide our tap water refuse to do this for us, then maybe it is time to make a change and take matters by hand. Thankfully, compact and high-tech home water treatment systems are now conveniently available. Although they are expensive, they offer cost-effective solutions in managing and eliminating the drugs in our drinking water.

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