What Are Pharmaceuticals?

Pharmaceuticals refer to synthetic or natural chemicals found in prescription and non-prescription drugs, including things such as hormone supplements, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), heart medications, and more. Pharmaceuticals are considered contaminants of emerging concern by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because of their potential to reach drinking water. Pharmaceutical drug pollution in water has been a fairly recent and growing concern whose long-term effects have yet to be fully explored.

How Do Pharmaceuticals Enter the Water Supply?

Pharmaceuticals can be introduced into tap water sources through several means: in sewage, which carries the bodily waste of individuals and patients who have used these chemicals; from uncontrolled drug disposal (e.g., flushing medicines down toilets or through disposal in the trash); and from agricultural runoff.

In a 2004 to 2009 U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study, scientists found that pharmaceutical production facilities can be a significant source of pharmaceutical water contamination. In wastewater treatment plants that processed the waste from pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, the concentration of pharmaceuticals was 10 to 1,000 times higher than in the processed water from treatment plants that did not receive pharmaceutical industry waste. These pharmaceutical waste treatment plants discharged their water in the river, and the pharmaceutical water contamination in the river was detected over 20 miles downstream from the plant, demonstrating both the inability of the water treatment plants to remove pharmaceuticals and the ease with which pharmaceuticals can spread in the water.

Agricultural pharmaceutical contamination in water occurs through antibiotics and other drugs used in livestock; when the livestock defecate, the waste eventually seeps into the ground or into rivers and streams. Traces of pharmaceuticals in their excrement therefore contaminate the groundwater and streams through their manure.

Pharmaceuticals such as acetaminophen (i.e., Tylenol), caffeine, cotinine, diphenhydramine (i.e., Benadryl), and carbamazepine find their way into groundwater through human waste and disposal. Essentially, drugs that people take internally are not all metabolized in the body, and the excess ends up in our wastewater, eventually ending up in sewage treatment plants. Expired or unused drugs are also often thrown away in the trash, where they end up in landfills and eventually seep into groundwater.

Why Do I Need a Pharmaceutical Water Filter?

Both prescription and non-prescription medications often confer a host of effects on the human body, both intended and as side-effects. When you drink water that is contaminated with pharmaceuticals, it can be akin to taking someone else's medication, in that there is no way to predict what the effect will be. You can see how important it is to make sure that people have water filters that removes pharmaceuticals.

There are currently very few monitoring programs or comprehensive studies available on human exposure to pharmaceuticals from the drinking water supply. Because of this, a key challenge in assessing the potential human health risk associated with exposure to concentrations of pharmaceuticals in drinking water is the limited data available for the diverse group of active pharmaceutical ingredients in use today and their active metabolites.

Despite this, there exist several published scientific papers exploring the need to screen for the presence of pharmaceuticals in home water. These studies also stress the need to assess the health effects of pharmaceutical water contamination on human health.

Current observations suggest that it is unlikely that exposure to very low levels of a pharmaceutical in water would result in appreciable adverse risks to human health, as concentrations of pharmaceuticals detected in drinking water are several orders of magnitude lower than the minimum active dose. Despite this, public concern is increasing regarding the chance that people may ingest a pharmaceutical in drinking water; this has resulted in an increasing interest in water filters that remove pharmaceuticals.

How Does Multipure Protect You from Pharmaceuticals?

Multipure's drinking water systems utilize our proprietary activated carbon block technology to act as pharmaceutical water filters, as well as reduce the presence of other contaminants classified as "Emerging Compounds and Incidental Contaminants"; in fact, the majority of Multipure’s water filters remove drugs in drinking water, and are certified to do so. Through a combination of mechanisms including mechanical filtration, physisorption, and chemisorption, Multipure's solid carbon filters work not only as pharmaceutical water purification systems, but also treat the presence of other contaminants like asbestos, cysts, particulates, lead, mercury, PCBs, radon, toxaphene, PFOAs, water disinfection byproducts, and chlorine.

Multipure's Aqualuxe, Aquapeform, Aquaversa and Aquamini drinking water systems are NSF-certified according to NSF/ANSI Standard 42 (Aesthetic Effects, e.g. chlorine and chloramine), Standard 53 (Health Effects, e.g., asbestos, lead, and VOCs), and Standard 401 (Emerging Compounds/Incidental Contaminants, e.g., pharmaceutical filtration). NSF certification signifies a very high standard of water treatment, whose presence offers assurance that our filters perform exactly as claimed.

With certification that shows that Multipure systems are capable of removing dozens of contaminants as well as act as pharmaceutical water filters, they are an all-in-one solution for your drinking water needs. Multipure systems are high-performance, durable, and versatile, able to be installed on the counter, below the sink, or in-line with other appliances like refrigerators or icemakers. Most importantly, Multipure drinking water systems are more than just water filters that remove pharmaceuticals – they are the best solution for your family’s drinking water needs.

Order Your Pharmaceutical Water Filter Systems Now

Concerns about ingesting a pharmaceutical in drinking water is just one reason people turn to the trusted products of Multipure. If you are interested in a comprehensive drinking water filtration system or even just a replacement water filter that removes pharmaceuticals, please contact your local Multipure Independent Builder for more information. You can protect yourself from drugs in the water and other harmful chemical compounds with Multipure pharmaceutical water treatment systems.

Whatever your reason for filtering water, Multipure offers water treatment systems with versatile installation options, from countertop water filters to below-sink systems and more. Order your Multipure system and replacement filters today!