Why Your Pee Hurts
Pee - the bodily waste that just about everybody excretes, is officially a concern to aquatic wildlife.
This concern of urine is due to our strong dependence of pharmaceutical drugs.
Commonly used drugs such as anti-depressants, ibuprofen, and even birth control poses a threat of contamination to our water system. This ultimately leaves a rippling effect throughout our ecosystem.
Traces of pharmaceutical drugs from excreted waste and improper disposal generally runs off to open waterways.
A 2014 study was released about traces of pharmaceutical drugs discovered in river water located in southwestern Ontario. The traces of diabetic and acid re-flux drugs were the culprits. Although levels were depicted on the low side of the scale, traces of these two compounds were never before found in our North American waters.
Aquatic life in certain regions have experienced a phenomenon of increased "intersex" fish. Male bass in the Potomac River have been documented to be producing eggs. Common medications, including birth control, may be the culprit to this issue.
To recover from this endemic, proper drug disposal programs would be the cheapest and easiest way to limit pharmaceutical contamination. Taking back drug programs, education on disposal, and a policy to govern large scale medicine flushing at facilities, are great steps to prevent contaminants from entering waterways.
Long term solutions include action to upgrade treatment infrastructure and taking a new approach on use and disposal of medicine.
Identifying the best method for removal is essentially the best choice. Overall, additional research is needed to conclude the effects of pharmaceutical contaminants in our waters. Further research will grant us solutions to help preserve the aquatic wildlife, and if there are significant long-term risks to public help.