The New War on Drugs

Another study on pharmaceuticals in our water supply is on its way – this one conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The study, set to be released in the journal Environmental Pollution in January, tested samples from 50 U.S. wastewater treatment plants for 56 prescription and over-the-counter drugs, The New Republic reported. More than half of the samples were positive for at least 25 of the drugs tested.

It is no big surprise that pharmaceuticals are showing up in our water. Not only have testing technologies advanced to allow us to detect them at low levels, but more Americans than ever are using prescription drugs – a study by the Mayo Clinic found that 70% of Americans take at least one prescription, up from 48% six years ago.

The big question, then, is what to do about these contaminants. There are no federal regulations requiring testing for or treatment of pharmaceuticals in water. It is unknown what effects ingesting these small amounts of pharmaceuticals may have on human health. It is clear that further research is needed before we can determine the full extent of this threat.

Have your customers expressed concern over pharmaceuticals in their water supplies? How do you advise them? Let us know in the comments below or e-mail us at [email protected] 

Kate Cline is editor-in-chief of WQP. Cline can be reached at [email protected] or 847.391.1007.

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