By David Christopher M.H.

Approximately 170,000 public water systems are monitored for 80 harmful contaminants.  These would include bacteria and other micro- organisms, pesticides, acids, petroleum products, and metals.  However other contaminants get a free ride into our homes and businesses including drugs, legal and illegal that have been detected in treated water.

Data collected in California in 2007 suggests that half of all medications are discarded, and are more problematic when flushed down the toilet or sink. Also, our bodies only metabolize a fraction of most drugs we ingest and the rest is excreted into the environment, ending up in streams and not usually removed by water treatment plants. Other drugs administered via creams and lotions can come off in swimming pools, lakes and streams. Health care facilities also pollute, especially after patient transfers to other facilities or after they die, their drugs are discarded.  These drugs cannot be discarded in the trash because they can be recovered and end up on the black market.  So they also can get flushed. Adding to the problem, the original drug manufacturers have been discovered dumping their waste into water ways. To add insult to injury, two trillion tons of animal waste generated by the livestock and poultry industry is laced with hormones and anti-biotic drugs.  These leach into ground water and also end up in water ways.

The Associated Press revealed in a series of articles that 24 major cities had detectable levels of pharmaceuticals, including antipsychotics and cardiovascular drugs.  Although there is no proof that trace amounts of these drugs have caused damage, there are unanswered questions of possible accumulation and possible effects on vulnerable segments of our society, such as immune impaired persons, babies or pregnant women.  There have been no studies explaining the high infertility rate in this country and Its’ possible relationship to hormones from birth control pills, that end up in the drinking water.  We must be aware that the body uses miniscule amounts of hormones to function.

Although there is no “hard evidence” of damage to humans, many marine studies show damage to fish that live in the polluted waters.  The hormones in the waters have adversely effected sex ratios of the population, and produced fish with both male and female sex characteristics; Anti-depressants were found concentrated in fish brains.

Many things should be done to remove and prevent pharmaceuticals from being in our drinking water.  This may take a long time to resolve but we can make correct choices to protect ourselves and our loved ones.  I personally will continue drinking distilled water, which consists of nothing but H2O.