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U.S. Drinking Water Contamination With ‘Forever Chemicals’ Far Worse Than Scientists Thought

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The contamination of U.S. drinking water with manmade ‘forever chemicals’ is far worse than previously estimated, a new report has found.


The contamination of drinking water supplies with pharmaceuticals and other manmade chemicals is now a global problem. Rarely admitted by public health authorities, the fact is that water treatment plants were never designed to deal with the presence of these chemical compounds.

While a proportion of the chemicals in tap water results from people flushing their unused drug prescriptions down the toilet, or from not all of the pills being metabolized in patients’ bodies and thus similarly ending up in the sewer system, vast amounts of pharmaceuticals are also being released legally into waterways providing water for drinking.

In the United States, previous tests have suggested that at least 51 million people are drinking water contaminated with pharmaceuticals. The actual number may be far higher, however. A study published in 2018 confirmed that water treatment plants taking discharges from pharmaceutical companies are putting high concentrations of drugs into American waterways. While the long-term consequences of this are not yet fully understood, research has already shown that mixtures of drugs are disrupting the endocrine systems of fish, feminizing them, altering behavior and reproduction, changing growth, and increasing liver sizes.

To learn more about the ways in which pollution from the drug and chemical industries is affecting food chains, water supplies and the environment, read this article on our website.

Read article in the Guardian (UK)
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