Improper disposal of materials by dumping them down the drain can cause a lot of problems. There are a number of ways that antibiotics could end up in the drainpipe. The most obvious is antibacterial soap. Washing hands or dishes with antibacterial soap sends that soap down the drain to continue killing more bacteria. Also, when you’re sick and taking a round of antibiotics, you often feel better before finishing all the pills. Many people, although doctors warn against it, stop taking the pills when they feel better and may dispose of them improperly. Of course, in addition to causing harm to the environment, they also run the risk of having the infection flare up again. Finally, antibiotics are in a lot of our food. Animals are often given antibiotics to prevent an epidemic of illness from hitting the farm. Eggs, milk, and meat that ends up down the drain in the kitchen sink could introduce antibiotics to the water system as well.
When we take medication, not all of it is absorbed. Some of it comes out in our urine. “The percentage of urine specimens containing antibiotic substances that gave a positive culture was 16.0%, with all but one of the bacterial isolates being resistant to the agent detected in the corresponding urine sample. The percentage of all urine specimens received from general practice patients with a positive culture was 18.8%.”
See the article below for more information. If 16% of people taking antibiotics, passes them in their urine, that’s a lot of medication going into the water.
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