Are Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water a Health Risk?

In 2008, the Associated Press (AP) conducted a five-month investigation and published a three-part series documenting a wide array of pharmaceuticals (antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers, and sex hormones) that were present in the drinking water of at least 41 million Americans. The concentrations were minuscule but left scientists concerned.

How do pharmaceuticals end up in our water? When people take medicine, some gets absorbed by the body; what doesn’t gets flushed out through our urinary tract, ending up in our sewage systems. Moreover, leftover drugs are oftentimes flushed down the toilet in full-form and eventually into our water supply.

Treatment facilities are not required to test for pharmaceuticals or filter them out. The AP National Investigative Team sorted through hundreds of scientific reports, meticulously filtered through federal drinking water databases, visited environmental study sites and treatment plants, interviewing over 230 officials, scientists, and professors. The largest 50 cities in the United States, along with another dozen other major smaller communities, were surveyed in the study as well.

“You have to drink water. And bottled water isn’t any better than tap water,” said Dr. David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at the State University of New York at Albany. He said most tap water treatments do not filter pharmaceuticals; however, activated charcoal filters remove most chemical compounds.

Since 2008, little research or information has been published regarding this issue. Follow-up articles are virtually non-existent from the press. Despite the overwhelming silence, several scientific reports have examined the human health risk of drinking pharmaceutical-laced water.

Surface water, groundwater, and drinking water across the United States are tainted with pharmaceuticals from discharges from wastewater treatment plants, septic systems, leaking sewer lines, landfills, animal feeding operations, and crop fields where biosolids are used.

Seven human health risk assessments of pharmaceuticals in drinking water throughout the United States and Canada were reviewed by the American Council on Science and Health. “None of these studies reported a potential health risk from exposure to pharmaceuticals in drinking water,” the site said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also conducted a study, reporting that the ratio of pharmaceuticals in drinking water is so minimal that they pose a low risk to human health.  “Concerns over pharmaceuticals in drinking water should not divert water suppliers and regulators from other priorities for drinking water and health, most notably microbial risks such as bacterial, viral, and protozoan pathogens, and other chemical risks, such as naturally-occurring arsenic and excessive levels of fluoride,” the article states. The site also explains that pharmaceuticals in drinking water are an emerging issue, so the WHO will continue to examine studies as applicable and update the guidance provided when necessary.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in offering the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

CDC Investigates Whether COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Is Decreased by PFAS Exposure

A letter addressed to Michigan State Representative Dan Kildee from Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is “assessing the intersection between PFAS exposure and COVID-19” by investigating whether exposure to these “forever chemicals” affects potential effectiveness and duration of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Healthcare workers and first responders are first under the CDC study. ATSDR will measure PFAS levels in participants to determine a link between PFAS in their blood and the likelihood of contracting COVID-19. The connection of PFAS levels and antibody response to the coronavirus will give insight into the impact of PFAS levels and the potential duration of vaccine protection.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl fluorinated substances called PFAS are dubbed “Forever Chemicals” due to the chemical bonds that hold the compounds together (about 5,000 substances) which never break down in the environment. For many reasons (including factory and facility discharge), PFAS have been found in drinking water throughout the United States. Over 1,400 communities in 49 states have detected PFAS in their drinking water, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). This equates to roughly 110 million Americans drinking PFAS-contaminated water. PFAS can be found everywhere; they are in hundreds of products such as food-delivery containers and papers, nonstick cookware, stain-resistant clothing, carpets, furniture, fireproof items, clothes, cosmetics, personal care products, and so much more. Tiny doses of PFAS are linked to cancer, reproductive and immune system damage, weight gain, and a plethora of other diseases. It is estimated that PFAS are found in the blood of 99.9 percent of all human beings on earth, including newborn babies.

Some populations are at risk of being exposed to higher levels of PFAS than others, such as firefighters, military personnel, and communities with PFAS-contaminated drinking water or factories nearby. According to an analysis by the EWG, every organ is affected by PFAS exposure, but the immune system is especially vulnerable. Studies have shown a weaker response to tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations in adults.

Dr. Philippe Grandjean led the study on PFAS exposure and its relation to a diminished response to tetanus and diphtheria vaccinations. Recently, an article he wrote in The Guardian expressed fears regarding the possibility for people with high levels of PFAS to experience similar reactions to a COVID-19 vaccine. Grandjean said, “People with high exposure to PFAS have non-protective and very low antibody levels after four vaccinations for diptheria and tetanus. So if a vaccine for COVID-19 is similar, the PFAS will likely inhibit the response from a vaccine. But it is unknown at this stage.”

To learn more, read the full report from EWG. For an in-depth chemical analysis of your drinking water or to purchase a filter, contact the experts at Reynolds Water today.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.

Protect Yourself from PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl fluorinated substances called PFAS are dubbed “Forever Chemicals” due to the chemical bonds that hold the compounds together (about 5,000 substances) which never break down in the environment. PFAS can be found everywhere; they are in hundreds of products such as food-delivery containers and papers, nonstick cookware, stain-resistant clothing, carpets, and furniture, fireproof items, clothes, cosmetics, personal care products, and so much more. Tiny doses of PFAS are linked to cancer, reproductive and immune system damage, weight gain, and a plethora of other diseases. It is estimated that PFAS are found in the blood of 99.9 percent of all human beings on Earth, including newborn babies.

For many reasons (including factory and facility discharge), PFAS have been found in drinking water throughout the United States. Over 1,400 communities in 49 states have detected PFAS in their drinking water according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG). This equates to roughly 110 million Americans drinking PFAS-contaminated water.

What was once dubbed a “Miracle of Chemistry” is now an “Unimaginable Water Crisis.” Chemical companies have been covering up evidence of PFAS’ health hazards for decades. When DuPont introduced the novel nonstick Teflon brand to Americans in 1946, the PFAS substances used to make that material were translated into thousands of everyday household items that repel stains and are waterproof.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been investigating PFAS since the late 1990s. As our nation’s regulatory agency for drinking water, they have yet to issue an enforceable nationwide standard for PFAS. Even more risk factors have been discovered by scientists and environmental organizations about PFAS throughout the years, and still, the EPA has failed to act.

Drinking water includes both tap and bottled forms. Bottled water is overseen by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which regulates contaminants in bottled water based on the EPA’s limits. Consumer Reports recently tested 47 bottled waters and detected PFAS in 43 of them, including sparkling cans.

To limit your exposure to PFAS, call the water experts at Reynolds Water today. They will test your water and offer an appropriate reverse osmosis filter. Choose bottled waters carefully, and avoid products that are known to contain PFAS.

For more information about PFAS, watch this documentary called “The Devil We Know” or browse this informatory website from EWG which explains in detail where PFAS originated, a map of the spread, and what you can do to stop it from affecting you and your loved ones. Also check out our past blog articles: “Michigan’s new PFAS Rules Among Strictest in Nation,” “Erin Brockovich claims the US is in an Unimaginable Water Crisis,” and “Toxic PFAS Leach Through Most In-Home Drinking Water Filters.”

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.  

Toxic PFAS Leach Through Most In-Home Drinking Water Filters

Filters on refrigerator doors, pitcher-style filters, and whole-house filtration systems might function differently overall, but they have one thing in common: they might not be removing all toxic drinking water contaminants. Toxic PFAS, dubbed “forever chemicals,” persist in the environment indefinitely and accumulate in the human body. 99.9 percent of humans worldwide have PFAS in their bloodstreams. 

Duke and North Carolina State University scientists found that most filters are only partially effective in removing PFAS. Research suggests that several filters, if not properly maintained, can lead to even higher levels. PFAS have known health impacts and are a widespread presence in the environment, especially in drinking water. Exposure to these toxic chemicals is associated with various cancers, low birth weight in babies, thyroid disease, impaired immune function, and other health disorders. PFAS can also affect reproductive and developmental health in mothers and children.

“We tested 76 point-of-use filters and 13 point-of-entry or whole-house systems and found their effectiveness varied widely,” said Heather Stapleton, the Dan and Bunny Gabel Associate Professor of Environmental Health at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

“All of the under-sink reverse osmosis and two-stage filters achieved near-complete removal of the PFAS chemicals we were testing for. In contrast, the effectiveness of activated-carbon filters used in many pitcher, countertop, refrigerator, and faucet-mounted styles was inconsistent and unpredictable. The whole-house systems were also widely variable and, in some cases, actually increased PFAS levels in the water,” Stapleton said.

Reverse osmosis and two-stage filters reduced PFAS levels by 94 percent or more in water. Activated carbon filters removed 73 percent of PFAS contaminants, on average, but results varied greatly. While the chemicals were entirely removed in some cases, they were not reduced at all in others. Researchers suggest changing filters regularly is the best way to ensure proper functionality. Whole-house systems using activated carbon filters varied widely.

To learn more, read the full report by Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. To be sure your home is getting the best filtration system that meets your needs, contact a water conditioning specialist. Contact the professionals at Reynolds Water Conditioning today and schedule a consultation to remove toxic chemicals from your drinking water.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in offering the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at www.reynoldswater.com or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.