How PPCPS Can Affect Drinking Water

PPCPs in WaterPharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), comprise a broad group of chemicals and compounds including both veterinary and human medicines, hormones, consumer products like sunscreen, lotions, cleaning products, fragrances and cosmetics. Studies have shown that these compounds are present in US water supplies, and some research suggests that PPCPs cause ecological harm.

However, it is likely that PPCPs have been present in water as long as humans have been using them, especially since many drugs are not entirely absorbed by the body and can be excreted and passed into wastewater and surface water. PPCPs can also be released in the water supply when:

  • Personal hygiene products and household cleaners are rinsed or flushed
  • Unused medications are dumped in the toilet or poured in the sink
  • Farm animals excrete hormones and antibiotics, which can run off into lakes or streams
  • Manufacturing or commercial operations improperly dispose of PPCPs

Some newer research suggests that PPCPs can have an effect on human health, though no studies are conclusive. Better technology is allowing for more accurate detection of these trace elements in the water, which helps to conduct more exact studies.

In the meantime, if you’re concerned about these elements in your water, first be careful of what you flush or rinse in your household. Dispose of medications properly (consider medication take-back programs, or research recommended methods in your area), and do not pour chemicals or cleaners down drains.

Next, consider a reverse-osmosis water filtration system. Installing a reverse-osmosis system removes virtually all PPCPs and other contaminants, even those found in trace amounts. A University of New Mexico study found that activated carbon and advanced oxidation processes are highly effective at breaking down PPCPs, while chlorine (the most common chemical for treating water) is dramatically less effective.

While we await the results of the latest studies and the EPA continues to monitor water safety and consider new regulations, keep your mind at ease when considering your family’s health. Learn if your water is safe by requesting a FREE water analysis.