Poison in the Water? Trace Pharmaceuticals and Your Faucet

Vicodin5mgThe 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:

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

glass_of_waterHow 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.”

Read Also: Understanding Ebola 

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.)


doctor_medical_SWOT-2Everyone 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.

Check Out: Pandemic is an Inevitability

water_pitcher_epicPreppers 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.

Visit Sponsors of SurvivalCache.com



















5 comments… add one
  • Roger January 28, 2017, 9:08 pm

    You failed to mention all the chemicals used both in producing ‘food’ and in extending its shelf life! I don’t think a water filter will help with that but it certainly will help with water contaminates but I wonder how much help they are with biological contaminates such as bacteria and viruses which can be much smaller than water molecules! Personally, in the field I use both a filter (Sawyer mini) and I boil all the water I’m going to consume. I don’t usually treat the water for bathing but perhaps I should, not sure about that, if that’s necessary then perhaps I shouldn’t go swimming except in a chlorinated pool; oops, chemicals again! In truth, the chemical companies (and their partner, the EPA) have been using the public as guinea pigs for many decades, maybe centuries! GLAHP!

    • CharlieMike January 30, 2017, 9:59 am

      Bacteria and viruses are huge compared to the three atoms making up a water molecule. And there are effective filters for such biologics but they are more expensive and have significantly reduced flow rates compared to more porous membranes.

  • Mouse_Traveler January 30, 2017, 3:04 pm

    It seems to me that no consumer grade filter would be able to clear out all the stuff that gets dumped into most municipal water systems. It seems like distillation is the best bet from what I have been able to determine, especially if trying to build your own purification system. Its easy to mess up, but is also the only thing I know of that can remove radioactive contaminants which is what drew my interest.

    • Shootit February 5, 2017, 11:09 am

      Radioactive dust is quite large and can be easily filtered. A RO system will catch almost everything, but if your heart is set on distillation at least make moonshine. :)

      • irishdutchuncle February 12, 2017, 11:06 pm

        yeh, what Shoot it said.

        if you drink only distilled water, I’m told that you need to add extra minerals
        to your diet somehow…


Leave a Comment