Jan. 19, 2022

SUFB 1259: How Pharmaceuticals are affecting water quality

SUFB 1259: How Pharmaceuticals are affecting water quality

Did you ever wonder what happens to your pee and poo after you flush the toilet? I bet you never thought you would read those words on this podcast, but the fact of the matter is our water quality is dependent on how well our sewage treatment plants...


Did you ever wonder what happens to your pee and poo after you flush the toilet? I bet you never thought you would read those words on this podcast, but the fact of the matter is our water quality is dependent on how well our sewage treatment plants can stop nasty stuff that we excrete from getting into our waterways, including the ocean.

Mongabay posted a great editorial about how the world is dealing with preventing pharmaceutical waste that we excrete from getting into our water. It doesn't look like we are doing a great job. 

Many places around the world cannot treat their sewage with the basic process let alone afford to implement the technology to treat pharmaceuticals. 

The sludge that does get produced after some sort of treatment gets added as a fertilizer on farmland, which means pharmaceuticals are in our fertilizer that helps produce the food in which we ingest. 

Pharmaceuticals are also affecting fish behaviour and physiology. I discuss two examples of studies that look at how elevated levels of estrogen (from birth control) and behavioural changes from psychiatric medicine affect fish in aquatic systems. 

The technology to treat pharmaceuticals does exist but has not been widely implemented. 

Link to article:
1) Mongabay: https://bit.ly/3IiJg0m
2) Fish paper: https://bit.ly/32faSEu

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