Pharmaceuticals & Personal Care Products

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products enter Lake Champlain through treated water released by a wastewater treatment facility. Many pharmaceuticals and personal care products are not removed by the treatment process and end up in the lake.

Sources Include:

  • old medicines flushed down the toilet or drain

  • illegal drug production and disposal

  • laundry detergents

  • perfumes

  • chemicals dumped down the drain

  • Urine and feces from a person taking medicines

Fish made of pills

Consequences

Since wastewater treatment facilities often cannot filter out the chemicals found in some pharmaceuticals and personal care products, they go straight into the lake. This means that more expensive treatments and processes are needed to clean our drinking water that comes from the lake. Even these treatments and processes cannot clean all the chemicals out 100% of the time. In some cases, pharmaceuticals and personal care products cause problems with fish and other aquatic creatures, such as frogs, by mimicking hormones. This can result in altered reproductive organs in frogs where male frogs mutate into female frogs. This is an emerging issue, and scientists are currently studying possible effects on fish, wildlife, plants, and humans.