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  • Writer's pictureTap Water Facts

Prescription Medication Finding A Way Into Groundwater From Aging Sewage Infrastructure

Medications are one of the most amazing feats of medicine. But they are meant to be taken at the right times, in the right doses, and by the right people.

You wouldn’t want a child taking the neighbors antidepressants. Or narcotics. Or a boy taking birth control pills. But when we drink tap water, we may be getting a nice mashup of all that. It can come from people flushing these drugs down the toilet and can also come from our own waste, as we pass these drugs out of our bodies.

In an investigation by the Associated Press, drinking water supplies in 24 major metropolitan areas were found to include drugs.

Due to the crumbling sewage infrastructure (see my blog post on this topic), these chemicals find their way into our groundwater. Currently, the EPA doesn’t require municipalities to test for drugs in our water, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

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.

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