The Drugs We Wash Away: Pharmaceuticals, Drinking Water and the Environment


You may have read in the press about medicines, like antibiotics and the pill, being found in rivers and lakes, and even in drinking water. Is this true? How do drugs get there, and do they have effects? Is there anything being done to address this? Can I do anything to help?
The animation gives answers to these questions and explains the processes involved. It was conceived for a general educated public with no prior knowledge of the issue, and was funded by the EU within the research project PHARMAS (

Concept and Production: Rodrigo Vidaurre ( and Melanie Kemper ( , Ecologic Institute (
Script: Rodrigo Vidaurre, Melanie Kemper, Nicolas de Leval Jezierski (
Direction and Animation: Nicolas de Leval Jezierski
Sound Design and Music: Michał Krajczok (, Talking Animals (
Voice-over: Steve Taylor (, Voice Pool ( )
Funding: European Commission, DG Research & Innovation (
Language: English
Date: June 2013
Length: 3:46 min

Patrick Vallance, President, Prescribed drugs R&D, discusses GSK’s second quarter outcomes 2016

Further information:

“Pharmaceuticals in Drinking-Water”, WHO report, © World Health Organisation, 2012.

“Pharmaceuticals in the Environment — Why Should We Care?”, Daughton C.G. and Ruhoy I.S., 2010.

PHARMAS project website:

Keywords: drug, medicine, medication, pharmaceutical, product, substance, water, drinking water, tap water, environmental water, water body, river, lake, exposure, concentration, risk, impact, effect, health, human, environment, pollution, aquatic, wildlife, animal, fish, feminization, ecosystem, prevention, antibiotics, the pill, self-medication, wastewater treatment, sanitation, toilet, pharmacy, disposal



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