Water Quality Association
International Headquarters & Laboratory
4151 Naperville Road, Lisle, Illinois 60532-3696 USA
Telephone: 630 505 0160 Fax: 630 505 9637
FACT SHEET: Pharmaceuticals in water
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE- MARCH 11,2008
Home filtering systems provide best protection for drinking water
As news reports about pharmaceuticals in water circulate, here are several facts for consumers to
Filtering systems in the home provide the highest technology available for treatment of drinking
water. Less than two percent of all water consumed is ingested by humans, making these
"point-of-use" systems the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly.
While utilities are required to meet safety standards set by the U.S. EPA, home filtering systems
act as a final contaminant barrier and can further purify water for drinking.
While specific product performance standards have not yet been developed for pharmaceuticals,
many point-of-use technologies have proven effective for some of these emerging
contaminants. Nano-filtration and reverse osmosis systems removed drugs tested by the
Colorado School of Mines at full-scale facilities in Arizona and California. Activated carbon,
distillation, ozonation, and advanced oxidization have likewise shown promise in removing
many of these contaminants. Individual manufacturers can also test products for specific
pharmaceuticals if they choose.
According to Utah State University Extension, up to 90 percent of oral drugs can pass through
humans unchanged. These often then move through wastewater into streams and
groundwater. It is generally cost prohibitive for utilities to use systems such as nano-filtration,
long contact activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. However, these technologies have proven
successful at removing many contaminants in home water treatment systems.
In addition to pharmaceuticals, water quality experts are examining other emerging
contaminants, such as those found in personal care products and pesticides. These are often
referred to as endocrine disrupting chemicals. Home filtering systems have also been proven
to treat threats such as lead and mercury.
WQA provides Gold Seal certification for products that remove a variety of contaminants.
Consumers can learn about different treatment systems and find locally certified dealers by
visiting the WQA Web site's Gold Seal and Find A Professional features.
More information is availablee at WQA's Water Information Library online, which includes a
WQA is a non-profit association that provides public information about water treatment issues
and also trains and certifies professionals to better serve consumers. WQA has more than 2,500 members nationwide.
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