Reader Question: I just read that a lot of prescription meds are getting into the water supply. Does using a filter, such as a Brita, help?
Your concerns are right on target, but I'm not sure that a water filter will help. Recent reports have revealed that trace amounts of prescription medications such as anti-seizure drugs, mood stabilizers and hormones are being found in our water supply. OTC drugs like ibuprofen are making their way into our water as well. Most of these end up there simply because the body doesn't fully metabolize them, and are therefore passed in body waste. Contamination also occurs when people flush unused meds down the toilet.
Unfortunately, using a water filter or buying bottled water is unlikely to protect you. While water filters reduce lead, mercury and copper, they may or may not affect the amount of trace pharmaceuticals in your water. (Brita says that it hasn't tested to determine if their product filters out medications, but they are looking into it.) Plus, bottled water, which is often tap water that's been filtered, usually isn't tested for this, either.
For now the best thing you can do is avoid contributing to the problem by not flushing unused meds down the toilet. Instead, crush them and mix them with kitty litter or coffee grounds, then place them in a plastic bag in the trash.
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