It has been found recently that tiny amounts of pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, hormones, mood stabilizers, and other drugs are in our drinking water supplies.
In an investigation by the Associated Press, drinking water supplies in 24 major metropolitan areas were found to include drugs.
According to the investigation, the drugs get into the drinking water supply through several routes: some people flush unneeded medication down toilets; other medicine gets into the water supply after people take medication, absorb some, and pass the rest out in urine or feces.
Some pharmaceuticals remain even after wastewater treatments and cleansing by water treatment plants, the investigation showed.
Ever since the late 1990s, the science community has recognized that pharmaceuticals, are found in sewage water and are potentially contaminating drinking water.
Although levels are low, reportedly measured in parts per billion or trillion and utility companies contend the water is safe, experts from private organizations and the government say they cannot say for sure whether the levels of drugs in drinking water are low enough to discount harmful health effects.
Boiling water will not remove the drugs from our drinking water.
Home filtering systems such as reverse osmosis may reduce the medication levels.
An activated charcoal system will remove some pharmaceutical drugs but not all.
When disposing of expired or unneeded medications, we should not flush them. Instead, we must mix unused or unwanted drugs with coffee grounds or kitty litter, something that will be unpalatable to pets and put the mixture in a sealed container so that it is not accessible to children or pets and put the mixture in the trash.