This story, AP IMPACT: Tons of released drugs taint US water, starts with the usual fearmongering one comes to expect from Associated Press:
U.S. manufacturers, including major drugmakers, have legally released at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals into waterways that often provide drinking water — contamination the federal government has consistently overlooked, according to an Associated Press investigation.
Don Surber, however, took a closer look and found,
The numbers sound big — 271 million pounds per year of chemicals are released into the water.
That works out to 14 ounces per person per year, or 7 grams a day. With daily use at 69 gallons per family, those 7 grams are pretty diluted. Add to it that most of those 271 million pounds are placed in the entire water stream from which the water is taken — and only a small portion of the overall water stream winds up at the water treatment center.
AP tried to make it sound as if the pounds were mainly drugs. But it is not until Paragraph 15 — well after the story is cut off in most reports — that you learn that most of the “pollution” is phenol and hydrogen peroxide:
“Two common industrial chemicals that are also pharmaceuticals — the antiseptics phenol and hydrogen peroxide — account for 92 percent of the 271 million pounds identified as coming from drugmakers and other manufacturers. Both can be toxic and both are considered to be ubiquitous in the environment.”
Hydrogen peroxide is H2O2 — water with double the oxygen.
So you have 7 grams a day, but much of that is H2O2 and we are not really sure how much of that 7 grams winds up in your water treatment center to begin with.
Now the kicker: At best, you drink 2% of that water you use. Most of the water we use is used in our toilets, showers, washing machines and dishwashers.
I was asking The Husband, who has a PhD in Chemistry, “what about the phenol? Would a regular filter take care of that?” The Husband says, yes, as long as it’s an activated charcoal filter, it will.
There you have it. No need to panic. Now excuse me while I get a glass of water.