A study by The Associated Press has made quite an impact with the general public lately. The report lists prescription drugs and hormones in our water supplies. This comes as no surprise when you consider what is probably flushed down toilets all over the country. A small amount of drugs will not make much of a difference. But in this country, prescription drugs are used by nearly everyone. Just watch the network news for 30 minutes and count how many of the numerous commercials there are for medications. You will be surprised. The human body cannot absorb all of these hormones and drugs completely, so they are passed out through urine and feces. That is how they make it into our water supply.
Water treatment plants are not currently required to test for nor remove these chemicals. Even if they were, the molecular size of some of these drugs and hormones (probably from oral contraceptives) are too small for conventional filtration. Bottled water comes to mind as a temporary solution, but the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) does not require water bottlers to test for these types of pharmaceuticals (Source). Boiling your water will not help any. As a matter of fact, boiling water will concentrate the levels of contaminates in the water. Boiling water is used to kill bacteria, it will not treat these chemicals (Source).
These chemicals are also getting into our food supply because this tainted water is being used for crop irrigation. So even though the amounts of these chemicals are measured in parts-per-billion or even parts-per-trillion, they are not going away. And very minute amounts of hormones can drastically affect your body.
There are efforts underway to create methods for removing these pharmaceuticals from the water (Source). They are similar to desalination, which happens to rely heavily on reverse osmosis (RO). Desalination can be thought of basically as reverse osmosis with much pre-treatment and some post-treatment.
Now more than ever, we need to take better account of the things we are ingesting. Nobody gives a second thought to a restaurant or workplace banning second hand smoke, so why would second hand pharmaceuticals be any less serious? How do we fix this problem? I really do not know. Convincing people to stop taking pharmaceuticals will probably never happen. If I did know of a solution, I would not be sitting here at this small desk. I’d be out somewhere making it happen. Undoubtedly, the solution to the problem will not be easy to implement. But for now, there is reverse osmosis available to anyone with very little investment. I have found RO systems for as little at $149 at the local home improvement stores. We have a 4-stage system for $168 shipped free along with some more high performance models to choose from.
The main point is, it doesn’t matter where you get an RO system, it’s just best to get one. It certainly does not hurt to make your cooking, coffee, tea or soft drink taste better which is what reverse osmosis does. My favorite uses for RO water are my morning coffee and a glass of water flavored with Propel for the rest of the day. Propel does not have the artificial sweeteners in it, but there are plenty of those brands out there. They make the water taste great without the syrupy texture of sodas or “sports drinks”. And there’s nothing wrong with a plain glass of water when it’s been through the RO treatment. Even your freezer’s ice maker can be connected to it.