Metformin, a drug for diabetes, is currently in every sample of drinking water worldwide. The concentration of Metformin in these samples are up to 50% above environmental safety standards. Metformin is the most widely prescribed drug in the world. It suppresses glucose production in the liver. Since we do not metabolize Metformin, it leaves the body unaltered, entering world wide water sources and oceans within 24 hours.
To date, the Environmental Protection Agency does not regulate pharmaceuticals in our drinking water or environment. In Lake Michigan, alone, 32 pharmaceuticals and personal products were present in the water. Fourteen of these measured high to medium concentrations of risk to the environment. Metformin is present 3 kilometers from the shores. The sediment around Lake Michigan contains 30 of the 32 pharmaceuticals and personal care products found in the lake.
Metformin and many other pharmaceuticals leave water treatment plants unchanged. They do not degrade over time. These drugs pollute all of our waterways, seawater, and drinking water. They are not easy to detect and are projected to increase 5% annually for at least 5 years.
Some drugs degrade into more toxic compounds. Effexor degrades into a different anti-depressant, Pristiq.
Currently, the E.P.A. lists 8 hormones and 1 antibiotic drugs as possibly making water unsafe in our environment. Metformin was not believed to be an endocrine disruptor. However, Rebecca Klaper, University of Wisconsin and Milwaukee, found male minnows exposed to Metformin develop female gonads, weigh less, and produce fewer offspring. Metformin is now considered by researchers to be 1 of the drugs that cause major ecological consequences that we cannot change.
Source: The Scientist, Megan Scudellari, Drugging the Environment, August 2015.
Judy Griffin PhD.