The Real Reason Pharmaceutical Drugs Get in Drinking Water?

You’ve read the stories about medical waste like syringes washing up on the shores of public beaches. While this is alarming enough, now a similar threat is turning up in our water supplies. Drugs are being found in water supplies across the country. But how do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water?

Initially, individuals take drugs in a pill or other format. While the human body absorbs most of the medication, a good portion of the drug is eliminated as body waste and is flushed into the sewer system. Next, this wastewater is treated before it is released into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. After that, some of the water is treated at drinking water treatment facilities and then routed to public water supplies. But what happens is that only a large amount of the treatment plants do not effectively remove all drug particles.

You might have seen the recent headline: AP probe finds drugs in drinking water? Such media attention literally rocked the government and environmental community. It all started when the Associate Press began a five-month investigation to learn what’s in our drinking water. The agency found that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas like New York City, Philadelphia and Detroit; to name a few.

So what are the risks from having these medications in our water? While researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of slow exposure to different combinations of pharmaceuticals, recent studies have found disturbing effects on human cells and animals.

We already asked the question how do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water?  So how do we get them out? One technology is called reverse osmosis. It removes virtually all pharmaceutical contaminants. However, it is highly expensive when used on a big scale. Plus, it also leaves several gallons of polluted water for every one that is made clean. And finally, this process strips water of really essential minerals that our body’s need.

Other treatment processes add chorine to water to get rid of the drugs. But that method has its drawbacks too. There’s proof that adding chlorine to water makes some pharmaceuticals more toxic. Some drugs, including widely used cholesterol fighters, tranquilizers and anti-epileptic medications, resist modern drinking water and wastewater treatment processes. Plus, the EPA says there are no sewage treatment systems specifically set up to remove pharmaceuticals.

With the lack of resources available to filter the drugs out of water, how harmful is it? So much is still unknown. Many independent scientists are skeptical that trace concentrations of drugs will prove harmful to humans. Such reasoning has been established because the studies conducted poisoned the lab animals with much higher doses of the drugs.

When a probe finds drugs in drinking water, it causes experts to look deeper into the long-term effects on people. For example, there’s the issue abut how the drugs and the combinations of drugs can harm humans over decades because water, unlike most specific foods, is consumed in large amounts on a daily basis.

This recent topic as of late is “how do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water?” but for many decades, federal environmental officials and non-profit watchdog groups were focused on how contaminants in water. Such substances as pesticides, lead, PCBs were the big concerns of the past.

Today, the scientific community is worried about the long-term implications of this problem. The fact of the matter is that our bodies can resist a relatively big dose of medication in one shot. But our systems can suffer from smaller doses ingested continuously over periodic use. This can slowly mess with our allergies or cause nerve damage. What’s more, women who are expecting, senior citizens and those who are weak and very ill might be much more sensitive.

If you walk away with only one thing from reading this, be safer with what your drink. Look into a home water purification device or contact your local water authority to see where you stand in this mess. In fact, some of the experts feel that medications may pose a unique danger because, unlike most pollutants, because they were designed to specifically affect the human body.

How Do Pharmaceutical Drugs Get in Drinking Water? Are There Really Drugs in Tap Water?

Wondering how do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water anyways? Why would there even be drugs in our water? Although it sounds far out, recently in the news there have been headlines, including those about probe finds drugs in drinking water. In various cities in the country and even across the world, pharmaceutical drugs have been found in the water – it is a scary thought.

In answer to the question, how do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water, the hospitals often have something to do with it. In some cases medications are flushed down toilets that have expired on a regular basis. When anything is flushed, it ends up somewhere in our environment. At some point it will come back and contaminate the water that we drink. In some cases people have medications that are expired, and instead of throwing them away, they think it is better to flush them down a toilet.

Flushing the drugs through the system is one way that these drugs can end up in the water we drink, and there are a variety of other ways as well. Whenever people take pharmaceuticals, they are not totally used up by the body. The rest comes out through waste and then goes into the sewage system as well.

In some cases farms can be to blame, which is news from probe finds drugs in drinking water. Many farmers use hormones for the animals. Then the run off from the farms end up in the water, including those hormones and drugs that they use. Pets that are on medications go to the bathroom on the ground as well, and there can be leftover medications in their waste.

Even medications that are thrown away end up in a landfill. Then eventually the drugs get into the soil and this can end up going on through into the water system as well. However, although it is clean how these drugs could end up in the system, how do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water and get past the treatment plants that are supposed to keep our water safe?

Well, it is apparent that the treatment facilities are not doing the best job at getting rid of these pharmaceuticals from our water. This means that when you run some water into a glass and drink it right from the tap, you could be drinking any number of pharmaceutical drugs, not to mention all the chemicals that can be in this water.

What can you do about this problem? It is obvious that drugs are getting through and into your drinking water. Well, the best thing you can do is to invest in a filtration system for your home that will filter out these drugs and other chemicals. This way when you drink the water, you do not have to worry about your safety and how do pharmaceutical drugs get in drinking water. You can relax and just enjoy the great tasting and safe water.

Seniors at a Disadvantage When Purchasing Prescription Drugs Online

A recent national survey done by the Kaiser Family Foundation in association with Princeton Survey Research Associates (PSRA) discovered that the digital world is still divided when it comes to seniors purchasing prescription drugs online.

The study found that approximately 30 percent of seniors (in this article, we define seniors as aged 65 and older) have used the Internet. However, 70% of their younger, seemingly more Net-savvy counterparts (50-64 year olds) are surfing the Net.

The dramatic differences between the two groups indicate that the next generation of seniors will be more able to make more informed online prescription drug choices, and that online sources of pharmaceutical information may become more important as these 50-64 year olds age. Currently, only 21% of seniors have, at one point in time, viewed an Internet site for health information, whereas 53% of their 50-64 year old counterparts have done the same.

The survey also found a link between senior’s annual household income and their propensity to go online searching for health information: only 15% of seniors in the $20,000 a year or less income bracket have searched the Web, as opposed to 40% of the $20,000-49,000 income earners in the same age group, or 65% of the $50,000 and over bracket. Unfortunately, most of the $20,000 a year or less seniors are also on Medicare (64%).

Prescription drugs online have become, in the past several years, one of the top health care topics searched, with 13% of all seniors having researched pharmaceuticals at one time or another. Only 5% of seniors, however, say that they have researched drug costs online, with the same number stating they’ve purchased prescription drugs online.

With the new Medicare reforms that enable the use of discount drug cards, websites such as the federal Medicare.gov have become crucial comparison methods for seniors looking to save money. And yet, less than 1% of seniors’ doctors have recommended prescription drug websites to their clients, but more than half of the seniors participating in the survey have received emails from pharmaceutical companies that advertise medicines, nutritional therapies, supplements or other health related items.

Purchasing prescription drugs online shouldn’t be a hassle for seniors, and yet when looking at these statistics, it’s fairly evident the digital divide still exists; at it’s most disproportionate the tools created to help the most disadvantaged are not being used. Even though more than 30% of seniors have stated that the Internet is something they “wouldn’t want to do without”, and more than half feel the Internet keeps them in touch with loved ones, they are still not using the Internet to research prescription drugs online – or as much as they could be.

Hopefully, with this new research and increased awareness from those who support people over the age of 65, seniors can start researching, asking questions about and purchasing prescription drugs online with little to no hassle or headache.

Copyright © Stephen C. Dayton 2005