An investigation by the Associated Press found a vast array of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans.
How is this happening? Well, people take their prescribed medications and whatever their bodies don’t absorb gets flushed away. The wastewater is treated then discharged into reservoirs, lakes and rivers. (This fact alone makes me a little nauseous.) Then, the water is cleaned again at drinking water treatment plants and comes out your tap. Unfortunately, none of the purification processes actually remove all drug residue.
People, we are taking too many drugs. Don’t get me wrong, people with illnesses should get treatment. But don’t ask your doctor for antibiotics every time you get a cold.
Americans are taking so many drugs. Over the past five years, the number of U.S. prescriptions rose 12 percent to a record 3.7 billion, while nonprescription drug purchases held steady around 3.3 billion, according to IMS Health and The Nielsen Co.
Our food industry uses tons of hormones and medicines on livestock and even our pets are now treated for arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, allergies, dementia, and even obesity sometimes with the same drugs as humans. The inflation-adjusted value of veterinary drugs rose by 8 percent, to $5.2 billion, over the past five years, according to an analysis of data from the Animal Health Institute.
Granted, the levels of these medicines are very low, but over time there’s no telling how much of theses drugs we’re taking unknowingly and worse, giving to our kids.
And don’t think that if you use bottled water or a home filtration system that you’re safe. Many water bottlers simply repackage tap water, and even if they don’t, the pharmaceuticals are in the ground water too. Home filtration systems, usually carbon filters, don’t strain out the pharmaceuticals either.
Think about this the next time you give your kid a glass of lemonade. I know I will.