Klaus Kümmerer, Director of the Institute of Sustainable and Environmental Chemistry, Lüneburg, says:
” Pharmaceuticals are ubiquitous in wastewater, deposited primarily from human urine and feces. The active ingredients from leftover pills thrown in patients’ trash or even hospital waste also find their way to waterways, but the contribution of those sources pales in comparison to the share “from all of us,”
Rebecca Klaper, Professor, School of Freshwater Sciences, says:
” Sewage treatment plants remove some pharmaceuticals from water during basic filtering processes, but many pass through unhindered. Metformin, for example, is stable against common water treatments such as UV light irradiation. And at this point, it is prohibitively expensive to add technologies that can filter out these chemicals. “
Kathryn Arnold, an ecologist at the University of York in the U.K., where there are also no regulations for pharmaceuticals in water, says:
” From sewage plants and landfills, drugs make their way into streams, rivers, lakes, seawater, and even into drinking water. Currently, however, the EPA does not regulate even a single human pharmaceutical in drinking water. An EPA list of pollutants that may make water unsafe, but are not regulated, includes eight hormones and one antibiotic. Metformin is not on the list. Legislation is not protecting ecosystems at the moment. ”
Read Drugging the Environment, The Scientist, articleNo/43615, August 1, 2015.