Scientists argue it will be one of the most precious commodities of the future, so why are new water contaminants popping up across the US? According to Technology Networks, contamination can cause widespread damage to the local human and animal populations, just look at the battle raging in Flint, MI. Now many are urging action before what they are calling a preventable disaster.
New Water Contaminants
Metal, such as lead, has been a problem for water supplies for millennia, but pharmaceuticals and personal care products, also known as PPCPs are emerging as the newest water contaminants on the planet. According to the article, PPCPs typically enter the water supply through human waste or runoff water from production plants. The same is true of the wastewater from pharmaceutical production plants.
There was also a study conducted that showed how flushing medication down the toilet can contaminate drinking water in cities. It is estimated up to 40 million Americans have been impacted by this type of pharmaceutical contamination alone.
There is also the problem of nanoparticles. These are water contaminants that are miniscule in size and can be made of chemicals or plastics. Because of their size and widespread use in beauty and cleaning products, these nanoparticles are difficult to test in terms of their harmful side-effects.
Already In The Water
Once these new water contaminants are in the water supply, they are notoriously difficult to get out. Conventional wastewater treatment plants primarily use physio-chemical treatments to purify water, but these items cannot be filtered out with conventional means.
These new water contaminants are linked to some harmful side-effects from early puberty to learning disabilities. There are also indications of fish and marine life being contaminated and then passing chemicals on to humans. Mercury and lead have been known to pass this way up the food chain for decades.
Still, years of research is ahead of us to know the full devastation of unclean water. As of now, there are larger pilot programs underway to determine the best way to treat water impacted by these new water contaminates.
The Future of Water
Looking ahead, it will fall on the shoulders of dedicated bodies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, to spearhead any real action. Access to safe drinking water is essential to human life and productivity. It’s still unclear what the EPA and other bodies like it, have in mind to combat the growing contamination.
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