What Can Happen From Drugs in Tap Water?
We've all heard the warnings about lead in water, or the risks associated with drinking certain brands of bottled water. Well now a recent study has given us all more to worry about … but it's from drugs in tap water. Drugs normally taken for pain or depression have been detected in the water sources of major cities. So this problem is not just concentrated in particular urban, commercial or rural areas of the United States.
And the problem is a scary one. In fact researchers found that low levels of medicines in water can have an effect on the human body and some of its cells. This includes: embryonic kidney cells, blood cells and breast cancer cells. Even though the drugs in tap water are measured in parts per billion or trillion – which is much lower than what's in a medical dose – they still effect how the cells operate.
Still, workers at the treatments plants stand by the safety of the water. However, the scientific community is concerned with the number of prescription and over-the-counter drugs ending up water. They are more concerned with the continual consequences that they have on human's health. Even though scientists say that the research is still in the early stages, there are too many unanswered questions that need to be resolved.
To the degree that the Environmental Protection Agency is focused on medicines in tap water, the focus appears to be merely on detection. A spokesperson for the EPA says that so far they have developed three new methods to "detect and quantify pharmaceuticals" in wastewater. The agency admits they have more to learn and analyze more samples from the water supplies.
I bet you're wondering what exactly turned up in the water? Some drugs in tap water include widely used cholesterol lowering medications, tranquilizers and anti-epileptic medications, all which defy current treatment processes. Additionally the Environmental Protection Agency representatives claim there are no sewage treatment systems that can remove these pharmaceuticals. It's all such a new discovery that the agencies need to play catch up.
In fact, the federal government does not even require testing for this purpose and there are no exact safety limits for drugs in water. The numbers are staggering. Only 28 out of the 62 major water providers asked say they test the drinking water. Or some only test for certain pharmaceuticals and take it for granted that there might be other drugs left in the water.
In conclusion, what's most scary is that in many instances during the AP's research there was conflicting information. When the water providers at some treatment facilities told the AP that pharmaceuticals had not been detected, other independent inquiries found traces of drugs. So that's what's happening because of the many drugs our society is using on a daily basis.