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« What's the Difference Between Sarah Palin and a Pit Bull? (Andrew) | Main | How costly is a storm? »

September 18, 2008

Comments

Bottled water in most cases is tap water too, or PWS (Public Water Source) as they like to call it :)

Some time back, I wrote a post about lead and Legionnaire's disease bacteria in tap water - how we are getting our dose of minerals and immunity boosters ;) Now you tell me we are getting our medications as well? How nice :P

oops..I am sorry, can you fix that link? I seem to have messed up on the html code :(

I feel bad for the fish - premature spawning and wounded fins are bad news. On the other hand, I feel bad for people dealing with depression and heart attacks.

I guess, in theory, we would improve water treatment to filter out these residual pharmaceuticals. However, I have no idea what the engineering challenges are in doing that. Do you Sujatha?

Lekhni,

The link seems to be working just fine now. So now you don't need to go running in search of your Tylenol, just a couple of glasses of water from your tap will do ;)

Andrew,

I don't know what the water treatment plants will do to address the issue. European countries (Germany & France for instance) seem to be ahead of the curve in recognizing and studying the problem as well as coming up with possible solutions like membrane filtration techniques. (The 2002 article I linked to shows very promising results for a reverse osmosis process using a special semi-permeable membrane that was very effective in removing the pharmaceutical residues for common drugs from a highly polluted sample of water from a canal). Another option suggested by a U.S. researcher is that of decentralized wastewater systems which can help dilute the effect by using soil as a filter of sorts for these residues:
"Wastewater is collected from small areas, often from a single dwelling, treated on-site or in close proximity, and typically dispersed into the soil. Decentralized systems release small amounts of pharmaceutical laden wastewater to the environment at numerous and widespread locations. Multiple studies have shown that pharmaceutical residues dispersed into the soil are attenuated by natural geologic processes, and do not migrate long distances underground. In contrast, pharmaceuticals released to surface water typically migrate longer distances prior to being attenuated by natural processes. Not surprisingly, pharmaceutical detections attributable to decentralized systems are significantly less numerous than those for centralized systems."

Now, if we could just get around to finding and implementing solutions instead of just ordering study after study to 'study the problem', we might get somewhere!

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