Did you know that the human body only absorbs 10% of medicines that are ingested? Where does the other 90% go? Into our waterways by way of your urine.
A new study shows that common human drugs are present in rivers on every continent. The study sampled 258 rivers in 104 countries looking for 61 different chemicals. They found what they were looking for.
The most drug-polluted rivers were in Africa and Asia. They also found antihistamines, antidepressants and antibiotics on all continents except Antarctica. Higher concentrations of pharmaceuticals were found in lower-middle-income countries, indicating that poorer places that can now access medicines lack the wastewater infrastructure to handle it.
Given the growth of the opioid crisis, this should concern us all not only for our own health but the health of wildlife that is unwittingly ingesting our meds.