WHAT’S IN YOUR DRINKING WATER?
There has been much concern within the population of chemicals present in drinking water. To educate yourself, I suggest you search for PPCPs or check out the website: http://www.epa.gov/ppcp/
This website concerns Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products as Pollutants (PPCPs). According to the government website, a pharmaceutical or personal care product refers to “any product used by individuals for personal health or cosmetic reasons or used by agribusiness to enhance growth or health of livestock. PPCPs comprise a diverse collection of thousands of chemical substances, including prescription and over-the-counter therapeutic drugs, veterinary drugs, fragrances, and cosmetics.”
What this basically means is, any substance you put INTO your body when excreted is put back into the water through the sewage systems. That includes the billions of tons of medications. Anything you put ON your body, when washed off during bathing/showering, also ends up in the nation’s water. The chemicals are found across the United States. Chemicals are also used on plants and animals we consume. Any chemical put on or in an animal or plant will eventually end back up in the environment.
Years ago when deformed frogs were found in Michigan, if I remember correctly, the problem was traced back to hormones found in the water. Think of all the different types of hormone medications consumed by humans. With over 80-million consuming just thyroid medication, it is all washing into the lakes, streams, rivers, ocean, etc. Any guess as to how many millions of pounds of others there would be?
Now, recall the advertisements you have recently seen for “side effects” of medications. Please be aware that these medications may be found in your drinking water. When the water is purified though the filtration systems, the filtration does NOT remove the multitude of chemicals. They are passed on to the consumers, the water drinkers of all ages. For example, that's why people have become allergic to penicillin even though they were never administered the drug. They consumed it through water they drank.
This was first brought to my attention when my hometown of Zanesville,OH at one time had the highest cancer rate in the United States. An educated woman, by the name of Mrs. Marilyn Swope, took samples of the water from an elementary school fountain. She invited witnesses in the form of one lawyer, a notary public and another witness to observe the sample taking. All of them went to the post office to mail the substance to the testing laboratory in MA.
What happened next is interesting. The testing company notified the city council of the horrible results, letting them know they would send Mrs. Swope the results within 2-weeks. City council hurriedly put through regulations to update the water filtration system with a charcoal filtration. As a science teacher, I checked on the process often. One time when I called the water purification plant I asked how the charcoal filtration system was progressing. The gentleman with whom I spoke laughed and said, “There was never any charcoal. To save money the city put in coal and it’s gone.” Evidently the chemicals used in the purification process were enough to dissolve the coal. Mrs. Swope eventually became a good Mayor of our town before retiring from public life.
Now, you may ask, what water do I drink? I try to drink distilled. Yes, sometimes I drink city water and cringe when I do. I also will drink bottled water cleaned and bottled by the two major soda/pop companies by the names of Dasani and Aquafina.
The PPCPs site includes the following:
Studies have shown that pharmaceuticals are present in our nation's waterbodies. Further research suggests that certain drugs may cause ecological harm. The EPA is committed to investigating this topic and developing strategies to help protect the health of both the environment and the public. To date, scientists have found no evidence of adverse human health effects from PPCPs in the environment.
- Federal Government Guidelines on Proper Disposal of Prescription Drugs(pdf, 1pp, 95KB, About PDF)
- Office of Water PPCP Information - analytical methods, proper medicine disposal, biosolids, fish tissues, and more.
- Contact list of Scientists (PDF) (2pp, 16KB, About PDF)
- Contacts in your Regional EPA and HQs
- Office of Research and Development's Water Quality Multi-year Plan
PPCPs have probably been present in water and the environment for as long as humans have been using them. The drugs that we take are not entirely absorbed by our bodies, and are excreted and passed into wastewater and surface water. With advances in technology that improved the ability to detect and quantify these chemicals, we can now begin to identify what effects, if any, these chemicals have on human and environmental health.
This site is dedicated to the scientific issues associated with the occurrence of PPCPs in the environment.