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  • Do Berkey Water Filters Remove Pharmaceuticals & Hormones?

    Pharmaceutical drugs and hormones are classified as emerging drinking water contaminants that have been acknowledged as an area of growing concern by the EPA. Emerging contaminants are pollutants that are ubiquitous in water sources at low levels, but very little is known about the effects that these substances have on aquatic life or human health.

    So Does Berkey Remove Pharmaceuticals?

    Quick Answer: Yes, the Berkey water filter equipped with the standard black berkey filters WILL remove pharmaceuticals drugs and hormones that are found in the drinking water.  Here's a quick overview table of what's been tested.

    A listing of pharmaceuticals that the Berkey water filter has been tested to remove. "Does a Berkey Remove Pharmaceuticals?" A listing of pharmaceuticals that the Berkey has been tested to remove. "Does a Berkey Remove Pharmaceuticals?"

    There is growing concern over the presence of pharmaceutical drugs, personal care products and hormones in drinking water, and what the long term affect of exposure to these substances can have on our health. Many studies have found various types of drugs, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter medication such as aspirin and ibuprofen, as well as hormones in streams, rivers and lakes across the country.

    Of the 250 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste that is estimated to be flushed annually, a large percentage originate from hospitals and care facilities, which generate large volumes of pharmaceutical waste, as well as households and veterinary sources, for example from farm animal waste when livestock is treated with growth hormones or veterinary medication. Until recently, flushing pharmaceutical waste was common practice, and while this may no longer occur directly, drugs (medication) and hormones (for example from contraceptives) are added to wastewater indirectly when they are excreted by the body. Yet, while wastewater does get treated at a wastewater treatment plant before being discharged into the environment, wastewater treatment facilities do not have the capacity to remove most of these contaminants. As wastewater often gets discharged into rivers and lakes that provide us with drinking water, these contaminants may be present in the water you drink.

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    How can you remove these pharmaceuticals from your drinking water?

    If you are concerned about the health effects of exposure to emerging contaminants which in all likelihood are present in your drinking water, you can invest in a good quality home water filter that is capable of removing these contaminants. However, because home water filters are not regulated or routinely tested before being marketed to consumers, not all filters are equal.

    However, while home water treatment filters are not regulated, manufacturers can undergo voluntary testing to ensure their product/s meet national standards and minimum requirements established by the NSF to ensure home water filters are capable of treating drinking water to a safe standard.

    The black berkey filters have been tested for removing these emerging contaminants, including pharmaceuticals and hormones such as ibuprofen, triclosan, caffeine and progesterone that are commonly found in drinking water.  The Berkey filters were tested for 17 different drugs and hormones, with each being removed to greater than 99.5% to meet NSF Standard 42 and NSF Standard 53 for chemical reduction.

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