Ever wonder why we seem to be susceptible to an ever-increasing number of strange illnesses? A simple answer may be that in many areas of our country, our drinking water probably contains a cocktail of chemical compounds.
Why? Because, lots of the drugs and chemical compounds produced by the ever-growing pharmaceutical industry are not broken down by our body’s internal systems, but go straight into our urine. So, when you think of the millions of these big pharma drugs that are produced each year, then it is hardly surprising that many unwanted complex chemical compounds are finding their way into our drinking water.
How safe is our Tap water to Drink
So while many pharmaceuticals are life-savers, they also leave a chemical footprint that can interfere with complex biological functions in totally unpredictable ways. The sheer scale of the problem is reflected by the fact that Pfizer Consumer Healthcare – the manufacturer of Anadin the well known painkiller, alone sold an estimated 27 million packets over the counter in 2007.
Then there are the medications, hormones and antibiotics which are given to farm animals in seemingly ever increasing doses, all of which ends up in the soil – by one means or the other – and that’s not mentioning the sheer colossal mega tonnage of fertiliser for our cereals – which are all water soluble! Water is all recycled, so whether these complex chemical compounds enter the water system directly or from our digestive system, they all end up in our drinking water.
Data collected by the Harvard School of Public Health shows that the body only metabolises 20% of drugs like atenolol which are taken by people who have high blood-pressure. While all wastewater is treated, it is not specifically aimed at removing drug residues and the UK Drinking Water Inspectorate has reported that the treatment process could make it worse – ‘Concentrations of some compounds have been found to increase during the treatment process, probably as a consequence of the transformation of conjugates back to the parent compound’. That is why in 2004 the Environment Agency had to issue a caution that there were small levels of Prozac found in the UK drinking water supply. One of the drugs contained in Prozac, fluoxetine, has been shown by research to be difficult to break down. Then in 2008 the Associated Press conducted an experiment which showed that there are traces of all sorts of prescription medicines in our drinking water such as mood stabilisers and antibiotics.
(And more recently), the UK Water Treatment Regulation body is monitoring the levels of the hormone oestrogen which is found in most drinking water supplies; to make sure that it is not harming humans or endangered wildlife – Perturbed? You might be! Just Google the affect oestrogen has on trout populations.
The upshot of all this is that although our drinking water is not completely clean or free of problematical substances, it’s still deemed ‘fit to drink’ by most water supply companies who by the way, charge you ever increasing rates for this ‘service’. By the way, next time you talk to your water supply company, ask them if they supply a guaranteed source of ‘drinking water’; you might get a surprise.
Most of us still drink tap water because we have no other choice, unless you choose to invest in your own drinking water filtration system, or choose the grossly expensive and totally ‘un-green’ bottled drinking water supplied by every grocer that can put ‘a pallet in’.
But if most people truly knew ‘what’ is in their drinking water, would they not choose the safer option? Taking water purification into their hands and therefore guaranteeing the quality and palatability of the water that their family consumed every single day of their lives.