Drinking water contaminated by excreted drugs a growing concern By Kelly Crowe, CBC News Posted: Sep 22, 2014 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Sep 22, 2014 10:23 PM ET
If we’re taking it, we’re also drinking it: painkillers, blood thinners, hormones, chemotherapy agents, even cocaine and amphetamines.
Whatever goes into us, also comes out of us, through our own biological effluent, every time we flush the toilet. The excreted drugs pass right through most sewage treatment processes and end up in rivers and lakes, and then in our drinking water.
A Canadian study quietly released last month reported record-breaking levels of three pharmaceuticals in river water in southwestern Ontario.
Although the chemicals — the diabetic drug metformin, the acid reflux drug ranitidine, and the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide — are measured in nanograms per litre, and are extremely low, the levels detected have never been found before in North America.
When Health Canada sampled tap water across Canada, researchers found what they expected to find, traces of drugs in drinking water that comes from rivers and lakes, although that report has not yet been published.
The good news is reverse osmosis (R/O) purification removes 99% of pharmaceutical residual from drinking water. Whether you have an R/O system installed under your sink at home or purchase purified reverse osmosis water, you can drink with confidence knowing your water is free from pharmceuticals.
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