morguefileThe ongoing use of antibiotics has built up in wastewater as a result of people disposing of them or simply through the elimination of them through human waste. As a result, antibiotic resistance has built up over the past decade. As higher levels of prescription drugs and antibiotics build up in wastewater, new antiobiotics are starting to be formed.

Breaking Down Antibiotics

Traditional wastewater treatment methods were not developed to break down antibiotics. Over time, conventional treatment methods could be creating new antibiotics. This may also lead to a rise in the number of antibiotic resistant microbes.  Current wastewater treatment is made to break down biological substances, which does not include antibiotics. However, chlorine is breaking them down and leading to other antibiotics.

The Recent Research

Researchers have been studying wastewater to learn about the presence of antibiotics and what it means. A variety are found in wastewater but researchers are testing one at this time. Other antibiotics in the same class are expected to respond the same way, but additional research is being conducted to find out more. According to Planet Save, researcher Olya Keen stated, “This research is a small piece of a larger question.” The antibiotic being studied by Keen and her student is doxycycline.

Antibiotics Getting Into Wastewater

There are various ways antibiotics find their way into wastewater. When they are not completely broken down by the body, they are passed into the wastewater supply. Expired antibiotics from medical facilities, laboratories and homes may also be dumped into wastewater.

Keeping Antiobiotics Out of Wastewater

Cutting edge companies continue to develop more effective wastewater treatment options to try to combat the elements found in the supply. Despite this fact, antibiotics are still landing in the water and can lead to problems with immunity, aquatic life and more. Possible solutions include continuing to research updated wastewater treatment methods or finding ways to keep antibiotics out of wastewater altogether.