US Pharm. 2011;3(36):8. 

Oakland, CA—Contrary to popular belief, less than 1% of estrogens found in U.S. drinking water comes from birth control pills, according to a report published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science & Technology. An analysis of studies on the topic suggests that other sources are responsible for most of the sex hormone—a source of concern as an endocrine disruptor with possible adverse effects on humans and wildlife—in water supplies. The researchers, who noted that sewage-treatment plants remove virtually all of the 17-alpha-ethinylestradiol (EE2) in oral contraceptives, determined that EE2 has a lower predicted concentration in U.S. drinking water than natural estrogens from soy and dairy products and animal waste used untreated as farm fertilizer. They also found that all people—not just women taking the pill—excrete hormones in their urine. 

To comment on this article, contact