From health-conscious homeowners concerned about the city’s water supply to backpackers, hikers, and cyclists who need to find sources of drinking water on the go, water filtration systems have become an increasingly important component of modern living. Beyond common pollutants and contaminants, pharmaceuticals are making their way into more and more water sources leading to the demand for products like the Berkey water filter.
Pharmaceuticals in Water are On the Rise
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, manufacturing facilities are becoming a significant source of pharmaceuticals in our water. Two wastewater treatment plants that receive water from pharmaceutical manufacturers were releasing pharmaceutical concentrations that were up to one thousand times higher than other treatment plants! A Canadian study found record-breaking levels of pharmaceuticals in river water in Ontario–higher than has ever been detected in North America.
Plus, it’s estimated that about 250 million pounds of pharmaceuticals are flushed every year by hospitals, veterinary sources, and everyday people. Even when people are cautious about disposing of medications properly, the humans and animals that consume these products to stay healthy must also excrete them at some point. Human waste is almost always destined for a wastewater treatment plant, but many of these cannot remove pharmaceutical contaminants.
Are We at Risk?
The EPA has designated pharmaceuticals as a contaminant of emerging concern (CEC), meaning that these pollutants may be present at very low levels in widespread areas, but the effects of these pollutants on aquatic and human life are not yet understood. However, some CECs are known to act as “endocrine disrupters,” or compounds that can change the normal function of hormone systems.
The EPA is still working on devising study methods for observing and understanding the toxicity of CECs as exposure during early phases of life for aquatic species may lead to difficulties later in that organism’s lifecycle. There is also the possibility that CECs only affect certain types of animals such as vertebrates, while other species may be less affected or unaffected.
How these substances affect human development or what quantity contaminants must reach before becoming dangerous is still unknown. However, it’s probably safe to say that most people do not want to learn this the hard way!
How a Berkey Water Filter Can Help
Filtration methods such as activated carbon filters, ozonation, advanced oxidation, and reverse osmosis have been proven to remove contaminants such as pharmaceuticals at rates above 99 percent. The standard black Berkey water filter has been tested and proven to remove more than 99.9 percent of pharmaceuticals such as progesterone, bisphenol-A, and erythromycin USP.
Travelers can choose the Go Berkey system for a light, portable way to have clean drinking water wherever they are headed. Homeowners can choose from several size options that include systems that are just right for small households, mid-sized families, and even busy homes and offices of up to 100 people. Regardless of your needs, there is a Berkey system ready to provide safe, delicious drinking water you can trust.