Pharmaceutical Drugs, Hormones, and Chemicals in the Water
We read more and more all the time about more and more pharmaceutical drugs, hormones, perchlorate, mtbe and other chemicals in the water, and more and more people are getting really concerned. We won't spend a lot of time here talking about the risks. You are probably reading this because you already are concerned about the risks of drugs in the water - and you want to know what you can do about it.
One illustration of how much pharmaceuticals have infiltrated our water supplies, however, came from testing of fish caught in water downstream from sewage plants in five U.S. cities. They all contain traces of many pharmaceuticals. In the fish from one location, Chicago's North Shore Channel, the breakdown showed:
Dilitiazem, an antihypertensive - 0.13 nanograms per gram of fish
Diphenhydramine, antihistamine - 1.4 nanograms per gram
Carbamazepine, antiseizure - 2.3 nanograms per gram
Norfluoxetine, an antidepressant by-product - 3.2 nanograms per gram of fish
Now a nanogram is a very tiny amount, and it is reported that you'd have to eat tons of such fish for such small concentrations to effect human health. But what about if you drink the water with all these drugs in it?
We have more information on the site discussing risks of drugs in the water supply; one page can be found here: Drugs in the Water.
We all love those charts that has a long list of all the contaminants that a given filter will remove and that show the exact percentage that each metal, chemical, etc. is removed. Such test results can serve some purpose and provide an indicator about the effectiveness of a particular filter. You will find some test results like that on this site. However, there are some things that really limit their usefulness. One is that testing a filter at one stage - likely when it is new or almost new - doesn't really tell you how well it will work after three, six or twelve months of usage. It's pretty easy to set up a test to show a large percentage of contaminants filtered out by a newer filter, but have its performance tail off dramatically because there isn't enough filtration material for it to continue at that level for long. Another particularly relevant issue as regards the every-growing stew of small amounts of chemicals and pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs in the water is that it is hard to do a realistic test.
What is in your water supply one day could vary a lot from what is there a month later. How the chemicals and drugs in your water supply combine is simply unknown. How can it be known exactly what a filter will remove when you don't know what is in the water to begin with - and when it varies by variety and time and place and amount?
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The Filters Selected and Sold by friendsofwater.com
We are always on the lookout for good water filters. We have chosen the ones we sell because we believe them to be the best - and for very good reasons. While we have been offered the opportunity to sell several other lines, our preference is to offer only those that we consider the best and the best value.
We still offer the full line of whole-house, shower, bath, garden and kitchen filters that we have for years. And we have added many new models designed to address current concerns - including radiation removal. The new filters put additional filter material to work on the contaminants that are of particular concern to you.
More and more customers are selected 3-canister kitchen filters now. The added canister can address radiation, chloramines (in more municipalities all the time), or additional protection against mtbe, chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs.
Those of our specialty water filters can be found that INCLUDE fluoride removal can be found in the store under the category Water Filter Kitchen in the FLUORIDE PLUS Water Filters section.
What About Reverse Osmosis?
We've never been fans of reverse osmosis for a number of reasons.
For more of our thoughts, click on Reverse Osmosis.
For more discussion, visit the page Water Filters.
But will reverse osmosis filters remove pharmaceuticals and other chemicals now found in our water supply? The answer is 'partially'. Reverse osmosis works by separating water with contaminants from water without by passing it through membranes. If the molecules of a drug or chemical are smaller than the membrane filters out, then they will pass through. How many, which drugs and chemicals? How can one say when they are different all over?
Fluoride is taken out of the water by activated alumina. This is not the processed aluminum we all rightly concerned about. That is a more highly-processed material, the production of which includes adding fluoride! So there is no aluminum to leech into your water. Fluoride, which is a highly reactive molecule, travels through the water as part of a metallic compound. That compound is magnetically attracted to the activated alumina and adheres to the surface.
As regards this topic, kdf (in all our Standard filters) filters chemically-based contaminants. (In addition to much more - addressed on the multiple advantages on the water filter page referred to.) So kdf works on chemically-based pharmaceuticals, drugs and other chemically-based contaminants.
Granulated carbon filters are effective on organic-based pharmaceuticals, which includes hormones. Combined with kdf, carbon filter material works better and lasts longer.
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The filter materials in each of these filters has been shown to filter many hundreds of contaminants including chlorine, chlorination byproducts, perchlorate, arsenic, lead, hormones, heavy metals, trihalomethanes and pesticides in much the same way that Mother Earth uses the minerals in the rocks and ground to clean water as it runs through to the aquifers. The idea is that these canisters include the right filter media to address the contaminants you might find in your municipal water, whether chemical or organic based.
Click here to see a partial list of contaminants filtered by kdf and coconut carbon:
What is Filtered?
In most circumstances with our kitchen canister filters, filter cartridges only need to be replaced once a year. We've had a few in LA and one in Chicago where it seems more frequent changes are needed.
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