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Conception, drugs and drug residues in the drinking water

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Conception, drugs and drug residues in the drinking water

RIVM has investigated an increase in chemical and biological substances that pollute our drinking water, which do not belong in our environment and which were difficult to remove by current filter methods.

Due to a strong increase in these substances, the water quality falls below a certain standard set for public health. The saying that our drinking water system is among the best of the countries in Europe is an advertising slogan that belongs among the commercials of the 20.00 pm television. Sure, the water quality is good, but traces of anti-conception, drugs, and drug residues remain in the drinking water that people unintentionally ingest.

Water level at ground level near the Werverhoof water treatment plant

Popularly put, in the future it would no longer be necessary to do birth control or to go to a pharmacy or doctor to get medicines and we are provided daily with a portion of weed, cocaine and other drugs through the drinking water. That is nonsense of course.

But it indicates that through the disposable culture, the discharge of substances into surface water and into a toilet, these substances end up in the water purification system that people do not know what to do with. There are substances such as: Cannabis, Magic Mushrooms, Truffles, LSD, Ketamine, Ayahuasca, and DMT.

Cannabis plant

But also mercury, heavy metals and of course agricultural poisons, such as carbamates and roundup, not to mention traces of which occur in the purified drinking water, which can cause dementia and Alzheimer's complaints.

Soon we will also have to add the various Covid 19 vaccines.

Water purification at the IJsselmeer

A new staircase purification.

Installing a third, fourth or fifth stage treatment was not necessary until now and costs a lot of money, which means that the prices of drinking water and thus also bottled water (so-called spring water, ground water, which is a free ride under water prices) will rise sharply. The drugs problem also increases this pressure on the treatment stations and the supply of drinking water.

Substances such as painkillers, hypnotics, anti-biotics, antihypertensive drugs, anti-depressants, anti-epileptics and statins can affect the ecosystem also because they pose a risk to animals, especially fish, that are in the surface water. This is evident from the measurement data of the water managers from the past, in which the risk substances were at least exceeded.

More and more substances are exceeding the risk limit.

The general water quality is deteriorating, especially in the Netherlands. This is because the pressure on surface water by the population is increasing. In the 50s there were only ten million, and soon it will be twenty million.

Because more and more measuring points are being built and the measuring frequencies are increasing, more risk groups are being registered. Some substances have a lower measured value and are hardly detectable. So we may assume that the actual number of substances is much higher.

It is assumed that the increasing number of undesirable substances in the near future will force us to use our drinking water with an extra stage, which can also remove the chemical and biological undesirable substances from our drinking water.

New studies by RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment confirm that drug residues pose a risk to the quality of surface water in the Netherlands. This is evident from an analysis of measurement data from water managers from 2018. Medicine residues can affect the ecosystem.

More substances above risk limit

By expanding both the number of measuring points and the measuring frequency, the researchers now found more substances above the risk limit. This risk limit is very low for some substances. The measurements were not sensitive enough for those substances. The actual amount of drug residues in the surface water is probably greater.

Therefore, the actual risk may be higher. In 2016, the RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment studied the measurement data of water managers. Even then, it turned out that the risk limits had been exceeded for a number of drug residues in the surface water.

A matter for the national government.

The 2018 study confirms that picture. This research underscores the importance of reducing drug residues in surface water. Water boards, drinking water companies, central government, municipalities, pharmaceuticals and the healthcare sector all work together for this, but must recognize that even better purification and renewal of the water supply network is a necessity.

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