AP Reports Drinking Water Polluted with Pharmaceuticals

Erin Ennis

What’s in your drinking water? The Associated Press has done some research in accordance with its PharmaWater investigation, reporting nearly 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals in U.S. drinking water each year. These pharmaceuticals range from copper, to lithium, to hydrogen peroxide. Some, like hydrogen peroxide, are found in high abundance, while lithium and copper are found in rarer areas. According to AP, the dumping of pharmaceutical waste into U.S. drinking water has been happening for decades and the FDA has done nothing to monitor it.

Of course, the FDA says differently. The Food and Drug Administration says, according to sources at AP, that the pharmaceutical companies have been dumping waste products for years, but a lot of the drinking water contaminants come from consumer use.

Ever taken medication on a hot day and then taken a shower? A small concentration of that drug was just washed off your sweaty skin by shower water. Ever thrown unused drugs down the toilet? The FDA also cites the trashing of pharmaceutical packaging as a cause for drinking water contamination. Most packaging, which ends up in our waters at some time due to improper disposal, contains a minute case of its drug.

AP agrees with most of the FDA’s statements but still blames the government for its lack of tracking. Pharmaceutical companies are still dumping wastes and creating an unsafe environment for fish and marine creatures. Too much exposure to certain drugs over a long period of time can also cause medical problems for humans.

While a solution to this problem remains years in the future, the Associate Press has done a great job of bringing a dangerous, and everyday, situation into the lime light.