You are currently viewing Pharmaceuticals Found in Drinking Water: Should You Be Concerned?
Pharmaceuticals found in drinking water

Pharmaceuticals Found in Drinking Water: Should You Be Concerned?

With more pharmaceuticals being used widely around the world, trace residues are increasingly appearing in public water supplies, raising health concerns. Let’s learn about pharmaceuticals in drinking water – where they come from, the risks they pose, and what effective filtration solutions exist.

Sources of Pharmaceutical Contamination

Prescription and over-the-counter medications and their byproducts can enter water supplies through a few avenues:

  • Sewage Treatment Systems: The most common source. When people excrete unmetabolized medications, residues pass through sewage systems and eventually reach ground and surface waters.
  • Agricultural Runoff: Pollution from livestock waste containing veterinary drugs and improper dumping of unused human medications can wash into waterways.
  • Drug Manufacturing Waste: Improper disposal of pharmaceutical factory waste has contaminated water near some manufacturing facilities.
Pharmaceuticals found in Drinking Water
Pharmaceuticals move throughout the aquatic environment. Source, Credit: Al Granberg.

Potential Health and Environmental Risks 

While detected pharmaceutical levels remain very low in most tap water, even trace amounts raise a few concerns:

  • Short and long-term health impacts from chronic low-level exposure
  • Increased microbial resistance to antibiotics
  • Effects on aquatic life from hormones, steroids, and other active compounds

Of course, researchers are still investigating the scope of the risks to humans and ecosystems. But common sense says unnecessary drug residues in drinking water are best minimised.

Effective Water Filters that Remove Pharmaceuticals

Fortunately, several in-home water filtration technologies can reduce pharmaceuticals from drinking water:

While pharmaceuticals remain an emerging water contaminant issue, effective in-home water filtration provides peace of mind and reduces your exposure from tap water. Safeguard your household’s water quality.

See also What Chemicals are in Tap Water in Australia?