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Poster Presentation:
Introduction: Water accounts for three fourths of the earth in which 97% is salt water and 2% is frozen in glaciers; this leaves us humans with only 1% of water that is actually usable. Water is recycled and reused for drinking water as well as landscaping and agriculture use. According to a recent study conducted by European toxicologist estrogens, antibiotics, and antidepressants are seeping through our waste water treatment facility. Currently on an outpatient basis drugs are often flushed down the toilet for disposal. Treatment plants are expected to remove solid waste and chemicals before water is reused but they are not equipped to remove it all. Therefore the assumption can be made that as long as pharmaceuticals have been around there has been contamination to the water due to drugs. What is new is the ability to detect trace amounts.
Objective: To evaluate the water system in United kingdom using reputable studies and postulate the effects of pharmaceuticals in the United States water system.
Discussion: The number one pharmaceutical that were found in the water system was antibiotics. The most commonly found antibiotics were trimethoprim, erythromycin, penicillin and sulfmethaoxazole. This may be the reason for the increase in bacteria and antibiotic resistance. The second commonly found pharmaceutical was antidepressants. Trace elements of fluoxetine was found to be affecting the brain and muscles of shellfish. The impact on humans includes symptoms such as hallucinations, insomnia, violence, depression, and behavioral changes. Lastly the third pharmaceutical found was estrogens. Increased exposure to estrogen has caused fish to undergo biological changes in which male fish are becoming feminized.
Conclusion: As of 2005, the FDA has not set any protocol to measure the amount of pharmaceuticals in our water system nor developed a nationwide disposal program for medications. We believe this problem will only continue to metastasize and call for the FDA to develop protocols that make drug disposal easier for patients and pharmacists.

Publication Date



water contamination, toxicology, pharmaceutical disposal


Environmental Public Health | Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences


Poster presented at the December, 2005 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Midyear Clinical Meeting held in Las Vegas, NV.

Evaluation Of Pharmaceuticals In The Water System



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