Ontario's Water Supply has Traces of Cocaine and Other Drugs?!

30 July 2015


I read some very disturbing news this morning, so I had to share. It turns out that there have been traces of cocaine and other illicit drugs found in Ontario's water supply. What the heck!? So how does this happen? Surely we can't blame the fish for having a drug problem. Traces of illicit and prescription drugs were found in Ontario waste water as well as in the surface of the Grand River watershed waters.

It turns out that the drug enter the water after people excrete them. While cocaine was the most common drug found in our water sources, there were other drugs found too. The mix varies and includes other drugs like amphetamines, opioid drugs, metabolites of methadone and more. The name of the province Ontario comes from the Iroquois word meaning "sparkling water", although I don't think that this is what they had in mind when naming the province.

While I don't think that anything we consume is truly pure, I am disturbed that these things have been found in the water supply. I mean, I boiled that water to make bottles for my baby. I don't think any of us truly realize how we impact the environment with what we do. Research still has not proven the toxicity or effect that these illicit drugs will have on the fish or the surrounding environment. There is a slight possibility that the fish behaviours will be different. That could cause issues with their survival rates too.

This is not just a problem for fish though. These contaminants have found their way into our drinking water as well. Although the amounts are very little, our population is always increasing and these trace amounts will increase with that number a well. So far this issue doesn't pose a health risk, but I would venture to guess that there will be risks in the future. What do you think?

I guess there are only two options to solve this. We can either be more careful in what we excrete (which will probably never happen), or we can find a better way to test and treat our waters. That can be quite costly, even though the technologies to do this do exist. You can check out the Metro News article on this topic for more information.

Moosers, what do you think of these things contaminating our waters?!


  • Alexandra
    Please do your own reading of the study aside from the news articles posted. Never let someone else's summary function as your own. This is the actual link to the Canadian study: http://www.fnfnes.ca/docs/FNFNES_Ontario_Regional_Report_2014_final.pdf There have been traces of many chemicals in Ontario's water for many, many years. In fact, this study was released last year in 2014 -- papers just likely had a slow day and brought it back up. Do not allow this to alarm you, you've been drinking this same water for a long time. Such a small amount of chemical is unlikely to ever harm you. The REAL conclusions from this study were that "the levels of pharmaceuticals found in the surface water of most communities pose no risk to human health. The long-term health effects of the mixture of multiple pharmaceuticals found in several communities are unknown at this time. However, several of these pharmaceuticals bioaccumulate and can cause fertility problems in fish at the levels found in this study." Concerning, but there is no direct risk to your life. Something we have to keep an eye on, definitely.
  • Reader
    Hello Alexandra, thanks for the link. I don't want to make this the main topic of the comments, as this is not the blog for such topic, but let's just say there is a possibility that such types of studies will never see the light if they have different conclusions. Some scientific experts also think pharmaceuticals and undesired chemical in any amount whatsoever are not natural, and therefore potentially dangerous for humans. We may not know for real the impact (or may not want to find it out, it's not economically, socially or politically convenient)
  • Tiggrr
    I am very surprised to see an article like this on a site that is supposed to be related to finding us bargains, not sensationalizing news. I agree this is something that has been going on for some time and is not new news but I truly believe this is not the place for such an article.
    • Anna Waters EDITOR
      Tiggr, we've always thrown in the odd bit of news as well as deals, I've done this since I started the site 7 years ago.
  • Alexandra
    If not to comment on the content of the article, what are we here to comment on?

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment