What are Pharmaceuticals and How Can They Contaminate Our Drinking Water?

What are Pharmaceuticals and How Can They Contaminate Our Drinking Water

Pharmaceuticals are natural or synthetic drugs that are chemically designed or created to treat, inhibit or alter diseases found in humans or animals.

Pharmaceuticals can be therapeutic drugs prescribed by doctors, can be over-the-counter drugs, or can also be veterinary drugs and animal feeds. When excreted by the animal or human body through urine, feces, or saliva, these drugs can contaminate our drinking water. How?

When an individual or patient took these chemicals and improperly disposed of these drugs, drugs were thrown into the toilet, excreted through urine, and fecal wastes can contaminate drinking water through the sewage.

Also, animals that have had these chemicals introduced for nutrition and prevent disease and the synthetic food they eat, when excreted through urine and manure, can contaminate drinking water through the soil.

Somewhat unbelievable, but according to a study by the World Health Organization, pharmaceutical drugs can be found in drinking water. As verified by this non-government agency, pharmaceuticals drugs are one of the causes of contamination in drinking water. If you’ll think about it, it is possible.

When individuals who took these drugs excrete these chemicals from their body through urination or feces and sometimes throws the used or expired chemicals on the toilet, these chemical wastes go through the sewage system that sometimes leaks and then mixes with the surface water or groundwater where drinking water is usually stored.

On the other half, when animals who feed on this synthetic food with chemicals combined or injected with pharmaceutical drugs for nutrition and disease prevention excretes these chemicals through urine and their manure that sometimes goes through the sewage systems as well or deposited through the soil.

Excretions of pharmaceutical drugs deposited through soil can contaminate drinking water as well. Soil absorbs these chemicals and goes to the surface water or groundwater that can contaminate drinking water.

Effects of Pharmaceuticals on the Body

What are Pharmaceuticals and How Can They Contaminate Our Drinking Water

Certain drugs have specific uses and dosage to be taken by an individual or patient. When taken more than the desired amount, these drugs can lead to an adverse reaction or toxicity.

Though some pharmaceutical drugs have antidotes, some drugs don’t. Antidote can be a chemical that lowers or inhibits the effects of pharmaceutical drugs that are taken more than the desired amount.

However, when a chemical drug is taken lesser than the desired amount, it can do no therapeutic effect desired to be achieved, or in other terms, it is useless. The same happens as taking those drugs in their desired amount. These pharmaceuticals found in drinking water can also cause certain reactions in the body.

Although some pharmaceutical drugs are available or can be bought over the counter or without prescription, thus the so-called over-the-counter drugs, these drugs also affect or sometimes are not safe to be taken without knowing its actions and side effects.

Most especially when it had to be taken by children or infants who cannot fully metabolize drugs due to their body metabolism have not matured yet or is not completely functional. No matter where you look at it, all chemically designed drugs are only to be taken as prescribed by the doctor to ensure no side effects can be felt. 

Elements Found in Water

What are Pharmaceuticals and How Can They Contaminate Our Drinking Water

Once the pharmaceutical drugs are absorbed through soil or leaked into the sewage systems, they can contaminate our drinking water. These pharmaceutical drugs are present in water, but other chemicals and microorganisms can be found in drinking water as well.

Depending on the process of some public water treatment, some use chemical reagents to filter drinking water.

These chemical reagents help by coagulating small particles into large particles to be easier to filter out or removed and be potable enough to be consumed. 

Some water treatment systems use microfilters and another purification method to process and purify drinking water.

Though a filter removes particles and other substances found in water, there is no assurance that it removes microscopic elements.

These microscopic elements sometimes cause diseases and toxicity, for example, bacteria and viruses that are a natural flora of water and can be found anywhere.

The iron that is common with a water system that uses copper or lead pipes can be found in drinking water. However, it can also cause toxicity, known as hemochromatosis, wherein excessive iron can be found in the blood.

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