A Pharmacy on Tap

Louise Valentine, <i>The Epoch

PureInsight | August 1, 2005

As we down our medication one day or slather on lotion, do we realize that on another day someone may drink some of it, or a fish, amphibian or shellfish may absorb it?

Up to 90% of every drug taken into the body is excreted unchanged or as metabolites ending up in the ground water, ultimately flowing out of the tap again to medicate someone else without even a prescription.

These substances collectively known as Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Pollutants (PPCPs) include every kind of medication and body care substance we use, which in turn comprise more than 10,500 chemical ingredients.

According to a leading researcher in the PPCP field, Dr. Christian G. Daughton, an EPA scientist, "The amount of pharmaceuticals and personal care products entering the environment annually is about equal to the amount of pesticides used each year."

Recent advances in science that have enabled detection of infinitesimal amounts have opened up this area for research. Although the situation has existed for decades, no one really knows how PPCPs present in drinking water may be affecting our health, and there are no guidelines for industrial standards. There is no limit to what can be flushed into the ground water or treatment plants.

Water tested in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia has shown the presence of PPCPs. A study made of water in Berlin, Germany found significant amounts of antibiotics, ibuprofen, cholesterol-lowering drugs, estrogen and chemotherapy drugs. Prozac was found in Britain's water as well as in bluegill fish in Texas. People eating the fish also were found to have Prozac in their blood. Fluoxetine, the active ingredient in Prozac, reduces thyroid function, thus delaying development in fish and frogs.

Estrogens from both hormones and bisphenols from plastic, which can latch on to estrogen receptor sites of cells, are very commonly found in water and have already affected wild life by feminizing fish, otters and frogs. In Nebraska, fish in the stream below the feedlot where cows are implanted with male and female hormones showed signs of underdevelopment in both sexes compared to the fish upstream of the feedlot. In the U.K., sperm counts of men have diminished more than half over the last 50 years from 160 million to 66 million per milliliter. Twenty million is considered a low count. Breast and uterine cancers along with early puberty are increasing. It is hard to say how much is from drinking estrogen-laced water, but it may be a contributing factor if the victims were not already on hormones.

If we all went to natural substances or homeopathic remedies and organic gardening and farming, these problems would clear up. However, we are not about to do that. The next best is to use charcoal-activated systems in our homes and institutions. The water we wash with also needs to be purified, as the skin can absorb chemicals. The Water Quality Association (http://www.wqa.org) gives a gold-seal certification recognized internationally on such equipment.

Material for this article came from "Drugs and Chemicals Straight from the Tap" by Sherrill Sellman, ND (http://www.ssellman.com) in May-June 2005 issue of "Nexus."

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