Do you know how many pharmaceuticals or other personal care products end up in your drinking water? Pharmaceuticals refers to unused medications, antibiotics, over-the-counter products such as skin lotion, sex hormone creams, and cosmetic products including soaps, fragrances, and shampoos.
Pharmaceuticals in our Drinking Water
It’s not just hard water you need to be concerned about these days, but the effects of numerous types of products that are washed down drains on a daily basis. The runoff from these wastes can end up in potable water supply sources or even into freshwater supply sources from agricultural areas.
You may think your local water treatment plant purifies all the water coming into your home, but it can’t catch everything. This is especially true when our drinking water treatment plants rely on water from large lakes, reservoirs, and tanks that collect rainwater or snow during winter months.
In the past few years, despite regulations, a number of drugs and drug components have been found in surface water. Even though recent laws have been passed to restrict flushing drugs down toilets or sinks into sewer systems, it still happens.
Is water safe?
While levels of pharmaceuticals found in water are not particularly toxic – yet – for healthy adults, over time, drinking contaminated water can prove dangerous for those who are sensitive, including women who are pregnant, young children, and the elderly. It’s not just about the concentration of drugs and water, it’s the number of them that have accumulated over decades.
Water treatment plants were never designed to treat or filter drug compounds or residues, though many are quite effective at removing pharmaceuticals from the water. Still, some types of drugs have been found to be incredibly stable in water. They are called nanomedicines, primarily used to treat conditions such as cancer.
The importance of water filtration
Homeowners today are encouraged to invest in water filtration systems that are beneficial in filtering out contaminants. Reverse osmosis systems are especially effective at removing pharmaceutical as well as industrial chemicals, components and particulates from the water. Some of these models utilize activated carbon treatments which provide even greater benefits.
We all want clean drinking water. Don’t take chances. Do your part to keep you and your family safe from risks.