I have a headache.
You should drink a glass of water.
More likely than not, you’ve been part of this conversation – maybe even have suggested to someone that drinking a glass of water would benefit their aching head. Ever wonder how and why that catch phrase originated? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not from dehydration (though water is very important, especially when dehydrated!). Actually, the phrase originated because tap water is laced with pharmaceuticals and drinking a glass of [tap] water essentially constituted popping a pill for that headache.
That’s right, there is more than the “accepted” chlorine, chloramines, and fluoride
[a neurotoxin] in the tap.
Phamaceuticals, Pesticides, and Antibiotics…Oh My!
How do they enter the water supply? Well, to put it simply, people ingest medications and unused portions are excreted through trips to the bathroom. Or worse, whole, unused and/or expired medications are flushed. Off to the nearest wastewater facilities these contaminants go, but only half of them are able to be removed.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) most recent investigation of 50 large wastewater treatment effluents revealed concentrations from 56 active pharmaceutical ingredients. Blood pressure medication including diuretics and beta blockers, anticonvulsants, antihyperstensive drugs were among the highest concentrations.
A study examining California’s public drinking supply revealed acetaminophen, caffeine, codeine, sulfamethoxazole, and trimethoprim alongside pesticides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
But pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, pesticides, and VOCs aren’t the only compounds in the drinking supply.
Hormones like estrogen are of concern as well; again, because hormonal contraception is not easily filter by wastewater treatment facilities.
As if the aforementioned isn’t scary enough, the toxic chemical Perfluroocantonic acid (PFOA) used in the infamous Teflon non-stick cooking pans is yet another pollutant lurking in the tap for many.
On November 10, 2017, PFOA and it’s cousin PFOS (Perfluoroocatance Sulfonate) were listed under California’s Prop 65 for developmental toxicity.
Click here for an interactive map to see if perfluoroalkyl substances have been detected in your area's water supply.
Water is essential for life, but we must ask: will drinking tainted water offer more problems than it solves?