Water Quality

Pharmaceuticals in the Water
Please, do not dispose of your pharmaceuticals down the toilet!  Did you know: 
  • Thousands of tons of pharmaceuticals are used across the globe, and Americans alone fill over three billion prescriptions a year.
  • Many of these prescriptions end up in lakes, rivers and coastal waters via waste disposal.
  • Up to 90 percent of a drug is unchanged and still active when it leaves a patient's body.
  • Compounds are flushed down the toilet and transported to a sewage treatment plant. Because most plants do not remove pharmaceutical compounds in their treatment process, active chemicals are then discharged into local waterways.
  • Nursing homes, hospitals and consumers also flush unused drugs down the toilet, where they follow the same path to local waters.
As a result, our waterways are becoming a soup of hormones, antibiotics, painkillers and other drugs. Recent studies have found pharmaceuticals in waterways across the county, even in remote areas. There is uncertainty surrounding the effects pharmaceuticals are having on ecosystems and human health. There is alarming evidence, however, that antibiotics in sewage are creating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This is one of the foremost global health concerns, as it could turn once-curable diseases into dangerous killers.
For news articles on this emerging topic of concern, click here to go to the Water Information Program website.  Once there, type "pharmaceuticals" into the search function.


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