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Drugs In Water

THE WATERFALL              

Should We Be Concerned About Drugs in the Water Supply? has been a trusted source for information on pharmaceutical drugs in our water supply since 2006. We believe that we should be concerned about this controversial issue, and here’s why.

On the topic of drugs in the water, an AP study has reported that a vast array of pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones, have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans.

In the United States, the problem isn't confined to surface waters. Drugs also permeate deep underground aquifers which provide 40 percent of the country's water supply. Human drugs are the not the only source, they also come from cattle and pet drugs.

At this point science tells us that we don't yet know the impact of ingestion of low levels of drugs. And the concentrations are tiny (at least so far). One concern is that the AP study has shown that water providers rarely disclose results of pharmaceutical screenings. Of those areas tested, fewer than half of the large metropolitan, and almost no smaller providers, even test the water for drugs. A California provider suggested that the impacts aren't known yet, and the information might unduly cause alarm. Well, we think it might just cause appropriate alarm! The view that Americans can't handle information is offensive, and we've heard it too many times before. (Thanks to AP for doing this study.)

What are the Risks?

The EPA has said they "recognize it is a growing concern [about drugs in the water] and we're taking it very seriously." Recent studies which have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.

Drugs in waterways are damaging wildlife across the nation and around the globe, research shows. Notably, male fish are being feminized, creating egg yolk proteins, a process usually restricted to females. Pharmaceuticals also are affecting what are called sentinel species at the foundation of the pyramid of life - such as earthworms in the wild and zooplankton in the laboratory, studies show.


Some scientists stress that the research is extremely limited, and there are too many unknowns. They also express, however, that the documented health problems in wildlife are disconcerting.

Recent laboratory research has found that small amounts of medication have affected human embryonic kidney cells, human blood cells and human breast cancer cells. The cancer cells proliferated too quickly; the kidney cells grew too slowly; and the blood cells showed biological activity associated with inflammation.

Will filters remove pharmaceuticals?

Most filters have not yet been tested to determine if and to what extent drugs will be removed. We also know that people don't like to hear it, but test results can be misleading. Tests are naturally enough done with new filters and new filter media. The tests normally often don't indicate how long that level of filtration will last when the filters are put to work.

On the topic of drugs in the water, a reader sent in this response:
“My beloved mother passed away in 2004 after a bout with cancer. During her sickness, she was taking various high-priced prescription drugs, including potent pain killers.

After she passed away, one of the Gov't employees flushed all of the unused medicines down the toilet. I was told that this was standard operating practice to prevent misuse of these medicines. I have since learned that this is indeed standard practice because there is no procedure in place to redistribue or return these drugs to their origin.”

To learn more about drugs in the water, email us at or call toll-free at 866-482-6803.

melting arctic

 A NASA-led research team has used satellite data to make precise measurements of changes in the mass of mountain glaciers in the Gulf of Alaska.  Changes in glaciers, ice caps, and other parts of the globe covered year-round by ice are a key source of most global sea level rise.  The Gulf of Alaska will be a significant contributor to global sea level rise over the next 50 to 100 years. 

The annual ice mass lost from glaciers in the Gulf of Alaska has been 84 gigatons annually, about 5 times the average annual flow of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and equal to the entire amount of water in the Chesapeake Bay.

Melting ice will also bring changes to freshwater resources and wildlife habitat. Because ice-covered areas are difficult to observe consistently, the team developed a satellite-based method that can accurately quantify glacial mass changes across seasons and years. 

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 desert fossil 

Parts of the world may have to be abandoned because severe water shortages will leave them uninhabitable, the United Nations environment chief warned.

Water shortages caused by over-use of rivers and aquifers are already leading to serious problems, even in rich nations. With climate change expected to reduce rainfall in some places and cause droughts in others, some regions could become 'economic deserts' that are not  viable for people or agriculture.

The UN expert says that only urgent action to combat global warming and poverty can prevent the creation of thousands of 'environmental refugees'.
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A citizen action for disadvantaged children in COSTA RICA

This is a project of the Randy Explorer Foundation designed to teach awareness of the importance of water. The program engages the participation of children and their teachers to increase their respect for this essential and fragile natural resource.

Thanks to many activities including workshops, dynamics group of play and reforestation.  Two half-days of teaching per month are provided each year. 390 children from ages 7 to 11 in 3 suburban schools in San Jose, Costa Rica will learn about water-related problems and solutions.

from randyexplorer

Tropical Fish In Rhode Island

Increased water warmth has led to caribbean fish being carried up to Rhode Island by the Gulf Stream.  The types and numbers of tropical fish up north has grown in the last few years.  Some tropicals have been found as far north as Nova Scotia. 

   zebra lionfish
       zebra lionfish, similar to red
         lionfish now found off the 
        northern eastern seaboard

Klamath Dam
People from the Klamath Basin and California are urging the Oregon State Water Resources Control Board to not grant PacifiCorp a clean water permit because of the degradation of water quality resulting from the operation of company's dams on the river. One resident said: "We are unable to use the river for swimming because of the toxic algae and it's getting worse every year. We don't want to see another fish kill like the one we had in 2002 (when over 68,000 salmon died)."

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