Hormones and Pharmaceutical Drugs In Our Tap Water – Really?
Well, according to a report by the Associated Press, that’s the conclusion from a study of 24 municipal tap waters – yes, small quantities of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, hormones, mood stabilizers, and other drugs – are in our drinking water supplies.
According to WebMD, who reviewed the AP report, these are obvious potential causes for concern. Even the NRDC – which is not a big fan of bottled water to say the least – weighs in with concerns. I have quoted (using quotation marks) various parts of the WebMD article below and I added my comments in BOLD TEXT.
” the drugs get into the drinking water supply through several routes: some people flush unneeded medication down toilets; other medicine gets into the water supply after people take medication, absorb some, and pass the rest out in urine or feces. Some pharmaceuticals remain even after wastewater treatments and cleansing by water treatment plants, the investigation showed.
Although levels are low — reportedly measured in parts per billion or trillion — and utility companies contend the water is safe, experts from private organizations and the government say they can’t say for sure whether the levels of drugs in drinking water are low enough to discount harmful health effects.
Is this a new phenomenon, the finding of pharmaceuticals in public water supplies?
No. Low levels of pharmaceuticals in the water supply have been a concern for a decade or longer, says Sarah Janssen, MD, PHD, MPH, a science fellow at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental action group.
“Ever since the late 1990s, the science community has recognized that pharmaceuticals, especially oral contraceptives, are found in sewage water and are potentially contaminating drinking water,” Janssen tells WebMD.
Concern among scientists increased when fish in the Potomac River and elsewhere were found to have both male and female characteristics when exposed to estrogen-like substances, she says. For instance, some fish had both testes and an ovary, she says.”
Well, that strikes close to home, doesn’t it? In the Potomac River? (which is the source for almost all of the local tap water) Well, a couple of points here. First of all, our 12-stage purification REMOVES all of these kinds of contaminants from the tap water. Our reverse osmosis technology removes 99.5% of all impurities found in tap water and this is the exact reason why we use reverse osmosis technology!! Only in recent years has the technology been available to actually measure the the amounts of these types of contaminants – it’s not as if they haven’t been there all along – it’s just that we can now test for them. I’m quite certain that as testing technologies continue to advance, they’re going to find a lot of other not so fantastic contaminants floating down the Potomac River.
“Is there a health effect of drugs in drinking water?
All sides of the debate agree this is not known for sure. “At this point we don’t have evidence of a health effect,” Rudzinski says, “although it’s an area of concern and one we will continue to look at.”
Janssen agrees: “We don’t know. It’s true that the levels [of the medications found in drinking water] are very low. But especially when it comes to pharmaceuticals that are synthetic hormones, there is concern, because hormones work at very low concentrations in the human body.”
“We don’t want people to be alarmed and think they can’t drink their tap water or that they shouldn’t be drinking water,” Janssen says. “We think this report in particular is a call for our federal agencies — EPA in particular — to do further studies to see what the health effects are.”
EPA’s ongoing research is focusing on the effect of pharmaceuticals in the water supply on aquatic life and human health, Rudzinski says. But she could not supply details of how much money is being allocated to that research effort or when to expect answers.”
Well, there are weird things in your tap water, but please don’t be alarmed and don’t stop drinking tap water. I’m just wondering how that could be the logical conclusion.
“Can boiling tap water get rid of the medicines, or would drinking bottled water solve the problem?
Boiling will not solve the problem, Janssen says. And forget bottled water as a way to escape the low levels of drugs found in some public water supplies. “Twenty five percent of bottled water comes from the tap,” she says, citing an NRDC report.”
Some things that people say are simply ridiculous. So, forget bottled water because 25% of bottled water comes from the tap? We apply 12 different stages of purification technology to our water. We could start with rain water, spring water, tap water or frog water and our system will remove 99.5% of all the impurities found in the source water. If municipal authorities had unlimited budgets, they would unequivocally purchase and install the EXACT technologies that we employ. But they can’t afford to do that. Why waste that kind of money for water that is going down the toilet? Or washing your car? Or watering your yard? They’re correct, they shouldn’t spend all that money for only the 1/2 of 1% of water that we actually drink! The bottom line question is wouldn’t you rather drink water that has been purified by that kind of technology DrinkMore Water uses in lieu of drinking tap water? I know I would!
“Home filtering systems such as reverse osmosis may reduce the medication levels, says Timothy Bartrand, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at Drexel University, Philadelphia, who participated in a National Science Foundation workshop to develop a drinking water research agenda.
“An activated charcoal system will remove some pharmaceutical drugs but not all,” Janssen says. “A reverse osmosis system can also remove some.”
So, home filtering systems can apparently help reduce the contaminant levels – but only to a degree. That’s because home systems can’t compare to more powerful industrial strength systems with the latest and most efficient technologies. Our reduction level is 99.5% of all impurities. Educated consumers can spot the flaw in the logic imploring you to keep drinking the tap water – don’t be alarmed by what contaminants you may be consuming – and, in the meantime, we’ll do some more research. Hmmm. OR, you can just decide to get purified drinking water for you and your family and let the tap water be used for research, flushing your toilets, washing your car and the host of other uses to which it is perfectly suited!!
And here is a reprint of one of my earlier blog posts on the subject…from March 10, 2008
As many people have already heard, The Associated Press (AP) just reported that it conducted an extensive 5-month investigation into the possible existence of various pharmaceutical drugs in the nation’s water supply. The study indicated that both tap water systems (where trace pharmaceutical compounds were found in 24 of 28 major water systems tested) and many of the nation’s watersheds (where 28 of 35 tested watersheds were found to contain some of these compounds) were contaminated.
According to the AP, “In the United States, the problem isn’t confined to surface waters. Pharmaceuticals also permeate aquifers deep underground, source of 40 percent of the nation’s water supply. Federal scientists who drew water in 24 states from aquifers near contaminant sources such as landfills and animal feed lots found minuscule levels of hormones, antibiotics and other drugs”. That means that well waters and spring waters may also be implicated.
At DrinkMore Water, we have built our Company on the fundamental belief that the single, most important way to choose one’s drinking water is by its purity. Purity is paramount. That’s why our custom-designed purification system employs the latest and most effective technologies currently available. In fact, in the AP report itself – our technology is the only technology mentioned that eliminates virtually all of these trace pharmaceutical compounds.
According to the AP, “One technology, reverse osmosis, removes virtually all pharmaceutical contaminants but is very expensive for large-scale use …” The centerpiece of the DrinkMore Water purification system is, in fact, reverse osmosis technology. Yes, it is expensive to install and maintain, but the purity of our product demands nothing less. Many people – customers and non-customers alike – have called us today asking the question of whether DrinkMore’s technology can remove pharmaceutical compounds from the water – and the answer is a resounding yes. Our technology removes virtually all of these types of compounds. In fact, we remove more than 99.5% of all impurities found in water. More than 99.5%!!
One question raised by the study is whether or not we’re looking at the tip of a veritable iceberg. There is little doubt that this very issue will be with us for a very long time. Do these compounds cause harm to humans in the amounts found? That is truly an impossible question to answer at this point and certainly, much more research needs to be done on this matter. But, in the DC area, the study looked at only six pharmaceutical compounds. There are literally tens of thousands of man-made chemical compounds in the environment. Are they all in the drinking water – hopefully, and almost certainly not. But, there will undoubtedly be further testing that shows that there are, in fact, many more compounds in the DC area’s tap water than were listed in the AP report.
What most people do not realize is that the municipal water suppliers actually do a very good job of making tap water “potable” or drinkable. The problem lies in the fact that we only drink about 1/2 of 1% of all tap water produced, the rest goes to flush toilets, wash clothes and cars, take showers and water the yard. Unfortunately, those municipal supplies don’t know which one gallon out of 100 gallons you’re going to drink – so they make all 100 gallons acceptable.
DrinkMore Water’s purification technologies are focused on that half gallon of water (out of a hundred gallons) that we actually drink. We strive to make that one gallon as pure as possible – so that people can have peace of mind that their drinking water supply does not contain any pharmaceutical compounds and for that matter, DrinkMore Water does not contain any chlorine, fluoride, aluminum, barium, copper, or nitrates. No coliform or E-coli. In fact, our purification technology is so comprehensive that our water exceeds all the U.S. Pharmacopeia standards for “Purified Water” – something no tap water and no spring water could ever claim.