Drugs don’t belong in water, which is why the worry about the occurrence of drugs in water bodies and drinking water is well-justified. Pharmaceutical drugs can simply enter the water supply through a range of different processes, and wastewater treatment plants do not minimize their entry, as many pharmaceuticals surpass the plants. So what are the adverse effects of these drugs contaminating water? Let’s take a look.
Pharmaceutical drugs and chemicals can seep into water through a variety of ways; flushing of unused over-the-counter drugs, human excretion, washing off skincare products such as lotion, the spraying of perfume, etc. According to WebMD, Sarah Janssen, MD, PHD, MPH states that “since the late 1990s, the science community has recognized that pharmaceuticals, especially oral contraceptives, are found in sewage water and are potentially contaminating drinking water.” The WHO describes the amount of these drugs/chemicals to be “typically at levels in the nanograms to low micrograms per litre range,” displaying their small - but still existing - presence in water.