Manufacturing and Pharmaceutical Contaminants in Drinking Water

Safe drinking water is a fundamental need for human life. Often, we hear about toxic agents like lead and other heavy metals being detected in public water systems. Today, the possible presence of pharmaceuticals and effluents from healthcare, manufacturing and production facilities in our drinking water points to a potential problem for human beings and the environment.

One primary reason for the growing concern of pharmaceutical in drinking water is the fact that the American population is aging and is, therefore, relying on prescription drugs to combat a wide array of health issues.

And the result? The more people relying on pharmaceuticals means more medication being improperly disposed of, which gives us more reasons for concern.

With that in mind, let’s try to discover the possible health-related impacts of pharmaceutical and industrial chemicals and compounds, and figure out what we can do to remove them from our drinking water.

How Do Manufacturing and Pharmaceutical Contaminants Get in Our Drinking Water?

One of the most common ways for pharmaceuticals to invade our homes and waterways is by flushing them down the toilet or washing them down the sink. These compounds can then leach into the ground and eventually seep into groundwater sources. They can also pass into treatment systems and enter rivers and lakes, then flow downstream and enter our drinking water supplies.

Other entry points include:

  1. Our bodily excretions
  2. Manufacturing waste
  3. Leaching from municipal landfills
  4. Runoff from animal feeding operations

Our drinking water can also be contaminated by waste and other harmful pollutants released from industrial plants. These facilities normally use freshwater to carry away wastewater from the plants to nearby lands, rivers, lakes, or oceans. If these compounds are continually discharged into these areas, they can poison groundwater sources with lead, arsenic and other dangerous chemicals.  

And as you’d least expect, the authorities still do not require drinking water systems to filter prescription drugs, industrial chemicals and pesticides and many other contaminants from tap water. Sure, the EPA requires water treatment facilities to test for up to 90 different potential pharmaceutical contaminants, but what about the hundreds of other medicines and other drugs that aren’t listed? Food for thought.

But, How Do Pharmaceuticals In My Water Impact My Health?

Effects of Pharmaceuticals

Because prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are likely to be present in small amounts in the water supply, there isn’t any immediate threat to human health (or so it seems). The thing is, these compounds generally have the potential to bio-accumulate and could cause several implications from repeated exposure.

Once ingested, some of these drugs could interact with certain medication people are already taking intentionally. Hypothetically, this could reduce the effectiveness of the prescribed drug or disrupt how our bodies function. This could be unsafe for pregnant women, the elderly, and young children. In fact, children are especially at risk since their bodies cannot filter out toxins as effectively as an adult body can.

Effects of Industrial Water Pollution

Pollutants from industrial sources (including lead, mercury, nitrates, phosphates, asbestos, Sulphur, etc.) can lead to various illnesses such as mercury poisoning, asbestosis, lung, liver and intestinal cancer, mesothelioma, and so on. These toxic agents can also be problematic for the marine environment.

How Can I Protect Myself and My Family From Pharmaceuticals In My Drinking Water?

1.    Don’t Flush Pharmaceuticals

Understanding how to properly dispose of your medication is a crucial step toward protecting yourself and your family from the effects of this type of water contamination. Do not flush your unused medication down the toilet or wash them down the drain. To reduce pharmaceutical waste, do not buy more medicine than you can use before it expires. Instead, ask your doctor for smaller samples if you are taking a new medication rather than filling an entire prescription that you may not use. Plus, some communities have “take-back” programs that allow certain drugs and medications to be returned on specific days.

2.  Invest in a Water Filtration System

Your family deserves healthy, contaminant-free and great-tasting water. This is all possible with a quality water filtration system. These systems are designed to filter out any contaminants in your drinking water, making it safer to drink and for household use. However, certain types of filtration systems like our whole house filtration system are better at removing pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals than others are. Springwell Filtration Systems can break down and remove pharmaceutical agents, chemicals and other contaminants from your drinking water. Some models use activated carbon treatment, which improve the removal of unwanted elements like chlorine and by products from the water supply.

Choosing the right system is important, so check out for our low-maintenance, easy-to-install whole house water filtration systems to see which one is best for you.


Pharmaceutical and industrial contaminants have been detected in groundwater sources of drinking water. While we don’t know how much of these compounds and chemicals will make it through water treatment to the tap, it’s always a good idea to put the right measures in place to protect you and your family from any imminent danger.

Contact Springwell Water today and we’ll help you decide on one of our systems that best suits your needs. We’d love to hear from you.