A Mayo Clinic study published in June of the US found that 70% of adults take at least one prescription drug a day up 48% from 2007-2008. We are taking more drugs than ever and those drugs consist of; over the counter medications for headaches to prescriptions for depression, birth control, acid reflux, and high blood pressure. These drugs aren't wholly digested by the body...we release small amounts of them when we urinate. And those you flush down the toilet because they are old...they all end up back in the water supply.
It has been well-known for quite a few years that pharmaceuticals are affecting fish and frogs. Small amounts of estrogen are even causing male fish to develop eggs. The long term effects on humans are virtually unknown even though health officials purport that they are safe. Researchers aren't even clear which compounds need to be removed or how to remove them from the water supply. What's more, it's not even clear which government agency should be addressing this problem.
What's perpetuating this problem is that there is no requirement to do an assessment on the front end according to Nick Schroenck-executive director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center in Detroit. The latest study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tested for 56 drugs in 50 large-size wastewater treatment plants from across the country. More than half of the samples, according to the journal of Environmental Pollution, tested positive for at least 25 of the drugs monitored. High blood pressure medications appeared in the highest concentrations and the most often.
There have been no studies showing the effects on human health, particularly the most vulnerable in our population-children, pregnant women, and the elderly. What is perhaps the most frightening is that Schroenck also states that our water could potentially contain hundreds or thousands of compounds interacting with each other and we have no idea how that affects aquatic life and human health.
It is definitely time for a wide reaching study concerning the compounds in our water and what affect they are having on our health. Water should be the safest of everything we consume. The world is built by water and it can never be replaced.
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