The current condition of the planet has been discussed throughout this blog, but I recently decided to do more research on our water supply here in the United States. What I found was very disturbing. We’re being poisoned, folks; there’s no need to sugarcoat it. The water that we drink, cook with, and bathe in has become just as dangerous as the food that we eat and air that we breathe. And the fact that only a few major media outlets are highlighting this is problematic but not surprising.
American Rivers advised that back in 2008 the Associated Press found an array of pharmaceuticals, from painkillers to antibiotics to mood stabilizers, in the drinking water of over 24 major metropolitan water suppliers. They stated that drug consumption has increased in recent years, with Americans filling 3.7 billion prescriptions per year. The chemicals from those drugs end up in our water by way of bodily excretion and/or unused medication being flushed down the toilet. And, no, the Federal government hasn’t stepped in to require testing or set safety limits as of yet.
A more recent study from The New Republic looked at samples from 50 large-size wastewater treatment plants nationwide and tested for 56 drugs including Oxycodone, High Blood Pressure medications, Ibuprofen, and over-the-counter medicine like Tylenol, and found that more than half of those samples tested positive; High Blood Pressure medications appearing the highest. Other drugs like Hydrocodone, Ranitidine, Hydrochlorothiazide, Acetaminophen, Antihistamines, Steroids, Female Sex Hormones, and Birth Control Pills have been found in our water supply as well. It’s also no secret that these pharmaceutical drugs are having an effect on fish, frogs, and lobsters which cause male fish to develop eggs. And this is the same seafood that we eat.
Aside from bodily excretions, drugs that are eliminated from personal care products applied to the skin, drugs from healthcare facilities (medical, dental, veterinarian offices), hospitals, animal feeding operations/ranches, water treatment plants, and an untreated sewage have gotten released into the water. But the question now becomes, what can we do to stop it? Well, Poison.org advised the following solutions:
- Only buy drugs and products that are needed.
- Buy the minimum quantity needed.
- Take only the prescribed or recommended amount.
- Apply skin care products according to label instructions.
- Ask your physician for drug samples, if they are available and appropriate for your condition.
- If you have unused prescription medication, ask your pharmacy if they will take them back.
- If drug take-back programs are not available to you, carefully follow federal guidelines for disposal of unneeded and expired drugs.
- Clean up pet waste properly.
Although pharmaceutical compounds have stated that only small concentrations are getting into our water supply, there is a concern that chronic exposure can cause serious illnesses. One, in particular, is the presence of endocrine disruptors, which have been proven to disrupt internal biological processes like development, growth, and reproduction that’s regulated by hormones. So the ultimate solution would be to eliminate prescription medication altogether, but that would just be a fantasy at this point.
Until Next Time…
Fallik, D. (2013, December 11). This New Study Found More Drugs in Our Drinking Water Than Anybody Knew And no one’s doing anything about it. Retrieved September 3, 2018, from https://newrepublic.com/article/115883/drugs-drinking-water-new-epa-study-finds-more-we-knew
PHARMACEUTICALS IN THE WATER SUPPLY. (n.d.). Retrieved September 3, 2018, from https://www.americanrivers.org/threats-solutions/clean-water/pharmaceuticals-personal-care/
Protect the Water Supply Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products in Water: What Is the Bottom Line for Consumers? (n.d.). Retrieved September 3, 2018, from https://www.poison.org/articles/2010-jun/you-can-help-protect-the-water-supply