What Is The Long-Term Health Impact Of Pharmaceuticals In Our Water?

May 19, 2014

Penn State researcher Alison Franklin holds up one of five prescriptions in her closet at home in Bellefonte, Pa. Flushing old pills down the toilet is how some pharmaceutical compounds get into our water systems. Most of them pass through our bodies when we take our medications.
Credit Katie Colaneri / StateImpact Pennsylvania

Scientists have been detecting traces of pharmaceuticals in our water systems for about 30 years now, but the research shows no one is getting a full dose of say, Prozac, just from drinking tap water. However, scientists do wonder whether these compounds may be having more subtle, long-term impacts on human health.

“We don’t have an answer to that and there’s really no good research out there that says ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ at this particular time,” said Julie Becker, a public heath researcher at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia.

But scientists are looking for answers.

Read more of this report at the website of our partner StateImpact Pennsylvania.