Scientists studying the world’s rivers found dangerous levels of drugs are contaminating water on every continent — including in the U.S. — because pharmaceuticals are not purified out of drinking water systems.
In my recent interview on “RFK, Jr. The Defender” podcast, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and I discussed how everyone in Southern California may be drinking the drugs that are washed down the drain in Las Vegas.
In fact, Las Vegas’ wastewater treatment system dumps into Lake Mead, which then flows down the Colorado River and is piped and pumped out of the river to serve as the drinking water source for all of Southern California.
But drugs — pharmaceuticals specifically — are not purified out of wastewater and are often not purified out of drinking water systems unless very expensive purification systems are used.
On Feb. 14, 2022, a scientific paper was released that studied the level of drugs, chemicals and pharmaceuticals in rivers across the planet.
The study, which is part of the University of York-led “Global Monitoring of Pharmaceuticals Project” and was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, shows some astounding results.
As summarized in Science Daily, the study found:
Pharmaceutical pollution is contaminating water on every continent.
There are strong correlations between the socioeconomic status of a country and higher pollution of pharmaceuticals in its rivers (with lower-middle-income nations the most polluted).
The most polluted countries and regions of the world are the ones that have been researched the least (namely sub-Saharan Africa, South America and parts of southern Asia).
The activities most associated with the highest levels of pharmaceutical pollution included rubbish dumping along river banks, inadequate wastewater infrastructure and pharmaceutical manufacturing, and the dumping of the contents of residual septic tanks into rivers.
The scientific study went further to say that drugs that have polluted rivers across the world represent a “global threat to environmental and human health.”
The researchers behind the study measured the concentration of 61 “Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients” (APIs) at more than 1,000 sites along 258 rivers and in 104 countries on all continents.
Only two places were found to not be polluted by the drugs — Iceland and an isolated indigenous village in Venezuela.
A multitude of drugs were detected in rivers including:
Carbamazepine, an anti-epileptic drug.
Metformin, a diabetes drug.
The study measured levels of drugs to determine if those levels could cause “adverse effects” to organisms living in the rivers or to humans feeding off of fish and other aquatic life in rivers.
Science Daily reported that “the contaminants found at potentially harmful concentrations” include:
Propranolol (a beta-blocker for heart problems such as high blood pressure).
Sulfamethoxazole (an antibiotic for bacterial infection).
Ciprofloxacin (an antibiotic for bacterial infection).
Loratadine (an antihistamine for allergies).