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


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


Ecologic Institute 2013: The Drugs We Wash Away: Pharmaceuticals, Drinking Water and the Environment. Animated video. Online:

The media has reported that medicines, such as antibiotics and birth control pills, are 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 you do anything to help?

The animation gives answers to these questions and explains the processes involved. It was conceived for the general public, with no prior knowledge of the issue, and was funded by the EU within the research project PHARMAS.

Disclaimer: The content of this animation is responsibility of the authors alone and does not represent the official views of the European Commission.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

At current levels, it is very unlikely that pharmaceuticals in drinking water affect human health. However, there are risks related to pharmaceuticals in water: for wildlife in rivers and lakes.


More content from this project


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) and Matic Jerman (Slovenian)

Published by
3:45 min
Project ID
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
animated video