In the last 10 years, traces of pharmaceutical leftovers and personal care products (PPCPs) have been reported in the water cycle. Surface waters, wastewater, groundwater and to a lesser extent drinking water have been contaminated with PPCPs at levels in the nanograms to low micrograms per liter range.
Although they have an impact on human health, PPCPs have a much greater impact on fish, other aquatic wildlife and the environment in general. But what can we do about it? Proper disposal of PPCPs can prevent misuse of pharmaceuticals and keep the environment free from contamination.
Pharmaceuticals and personal care products include a wide range of drugs and care products:
PPCPs get into our water from many different sources as a result of improper disposal. Pharmaceutical industries, hospitals, medical facilities, households and agricultural areas have a big impact on the environment due to operations involving a wide range of PPCPs. Pharmaceuticals, including sex hormones, antibiotics and antidepressants have been found in at least 41 million American’s drinking water supplies!
There is a growing concern about the pharmaceuticals’ contribution to health problems. Also, biological impacts of exposure to higher concentrations of PPCPs in untreated water can lead to:
The animation below was funded by the European Union within the research project PHARMAS and was conceived for a general educated public with no prior knowledge of the PPCPs issue.
Depending on the source and the ingredients, there are various ways in which the public can properly dispose of pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Often, there are community drug take-back programs that collect drugs at a center location for proper disposal. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) periodically promotes local take-back programs and the program called the National Take Back Initiative.
However, if no program is available, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Office of National Drug Policy emphasize on following the subsequent measurements:
Although logistically challenging, removing pharmaceutical traces from drinking water is no impossible task. Reverse osmosis systems are widely agreed upon as the best available treatment method, removing heavier molecular particles common in many pharmaceutical drugs. RO systems also filter small impurities and remove contaminants such as arsenic, fluoride, lead, sodium, nitrate and nitrite, cysts, copper, chloride taste and odor, and dissolved solids. Dime Water provides both commercial and residential RO systems. Call us during our normal business hours at 760.734.5787 and get in touch with one of our water experts today!
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