The issue of pharmaceuticals showing up in public water systems is gaining more and more attention in the media, and for good reason—because it’s there! While it isn’t entirely clear what these drugs are doing to your endocrine system, it isn’t positive. Moreover, your exposure to trace pharmaceuticals is probably greater than you imagine. Consider these news articles:
- A New York legislator, Patrick Burke, is proposing a local law that would require big pharma to cover the cost of disposing unused medications appropriately.
- Study: Trace pharmaceuticals, chemicals may be harming fish in Minnesota
- Scientists trace cancer-causing chemical in drinking water back to methadone
- Study finds traces of drugs in drinking water in 24 major U.S. regions
- New study found more drugs in our drinking water than anybody knew
I could go on citing more and more articles on the subject, but what’s the point? These are all legitimate news sources, not quack “fake news” and conspiracy theory sites. The issue is real. Do your own research and you will quickly see for yourself. Believe it or not, you are exposed to trace chemicals from the improper disposal of pharmaceuticals.
By Danger Dave, a contributing author to SHTFBlog & SurvivalCache
But what exactly are “trace pharmaceuticals”? Denver Water states:
Trace pharmaceuticals are sometimes called microconstituents or emerging contaminants. They are products that enter the water supply through animal-based agricultural runoff or from human sources. A high percentage of pharmaceuticals in wastewater enter the water supply when people dispose of medicines in the sink or toilet. Most, if not all, pharmaceutical products — whether used in animals or in humans — are used in doses at which some amounts are passed through the user and back into water systems.
New York Legislator Burke (from the first article) said, “I heard someone make sort of a glib joke the other day that they’re feeling depressed, so instead of going to the pharmacy they’re just going to drink a cup of tap water.” Funny, but no laughing matter.
From Prescription to Drinking Water
How is it that when we turn on the tap water we get a refreshing glass of… drug-tainted water? Well, what do people do with unused and expired drugs? Chances are they get dumped in the toilet and flushed. The water system is a circular system. It all comes back around. What is more, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that the flushing of drugs is only part of the problem.
“The main way drug residues enter water systems is by people taking medicines and then naturally passing them through their bodies,” says Raanan Bloom, Ph.D., an environmental assessment expert at FDA. “Many drugs are not completely absorbed or metabolized by the body and can enter the environment after passing through wastewater treatment plants.”
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So drugs are getting into the water system simply by the fact people are taking drugs and then using the bathroom as they always do.
Drugs in our water is no easy problem to solve, and it’s the reason the FDA, in partnership with the DEA and community organizations, developed community-based drug “take-back” programs. (Click here to find a take-back program in your area.)
Everyone agrees that trace amounts of drugs are in the water. As we established, this is not “alternative facts” or theory. It is undeniable. What is not clear is to what extent it may cause harm to individuals consuming the water. According to WebMD, while scientists do not know the extent of the threat to our health, of particular concern is the presence of synthetic hormones, because “hormones work at very low concentrations in the human body.” They go on to say, “We know that kids, including babies and toddlers, as well as fetuses, are more susceptible to environmental exposures because their bodies are still developing and their exposure on a pound-per-pound basis is higher. And they lack the detoxification system adults have. So it is not unreasonable to expect they would be at a higher risk.”
Soooo… if it is of particular concern for kids, and the science is still out on the effects their presence in water has on adults, I am inclined to err on the side of safety.
So there is no denying the research and concern. Drugs in drinking water is very real. While solutions for preventing the drugs from entering the water system prove somewhat elusive, there are concrete ways to get trace pharmaceuticals out of your water.
“Boil it,” you say? Nope. Boiling it does not solve the problem. “Then bottled water,” you argue. Not likely. Twenty-five percent of bottled water comes from the tap. Your best bet at addressing the problem? Filtering it between when it leaves the tap to when it reaches your mouth.
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Preppers are familiar with a few of the common water filtration available to them because they have purchased them as insurance against an environmental or man-made catastrophe to allow them access to safe drinking water. But why wait until catastrophe strikes to use them when those very filters could be used right now to clean your drinking water for safe(er) consumption? If you own the products already, why not use them on a daily basis now? If you don’t own the products, consider getting one, for the sake of your family’s health. A few that we recommend for prepping purposes also remove trace pharmaceuticals:
- Black Berkey Filters
- Epic’s Filtration Pitcher
From my view, any “prepper” product that can get used now is a must get. It makes far more sense to purchase these products before products that will sit on a shelf for a “just in case” situation that may not come.
Lastly, you can do your part to help combat drugs entering the water supply by following the drug disposal guidelines from the FDA found here.
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