Your drinking water spiked

Published: Wednesday 31 January 2001

The water you drink could be a concoction of sex hormones, sunscreen agents, antiseptics, painkillers, and antiinflammatory and antibiotic drugs, among other things. This comes out from studies conducted in Germany, Canada and the us. Drugs and personal care products excreted or washed off our bodies are finding their way to underground aquifers. They flow out through effluent treatment plants and leaking septic tanks. Some pharmaceutical drugs, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and indomethacin, do not break down easily. Traces of theses chemicals have been detected in sewage samples taken after and before treatment in Canada. The result of people ingesting such drugs over long periods has not been studied in detail. But laboratory studies show that exposure to miniscule amounts of oestrogen can give feminine characteristics to male fish. It can also disrupt the circulatory system. Experts point out that in regions where people face water scarcity, reuse of treated sewage for drinking water will lead to people ingesting more of these drugs and chemicals ( Environmental Health Perspectives, October 2000 ).

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