"Just say No" was once a battle cry against drugs in America. Now it seems the slogan should have been, "drink booze but not water." Because America's drinking water is laced with dozens of pharmaceuticals, and you get 'em all for free. Don't need health insurance after all. The meds come with every glass of tap water. Makes tracking the side effects a little tough.
A recent AP article on drugs in drinking water got carried all over the U.S. And that's caused a rash of political action. Drugs in MY WATER?
In the AP story these lines caught a lot of attention: "Some drugs, including widely used cholesterol fighters, tranquilizers and anti-epileptic medications, resist modern drinking water and wastewater treatment processes. Plus, the EPA says there are no sewage treatment systems specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals."
A town in Illinois is now going to test its water. Two major cities in Arizona will begin testing. And they'll be testing up in Montana.
Some things we know. This is not a problem unique to America. Take a drug, and what goes in one end, comes out the other. They're fussed about this in Europe and elsewhere. Not all these pharmaceuticals are even meant for humans. Veterinarian drugs are also in many water supplies. Guess I won't catch avian flu after all. Do you want to contemplate how a hog or chicken medicine gets into your water? Many drugs are highly resistant to traditional sewage treatment so they go right into the ground water. Feral, man-made drugs are already having effects on cold-blooded animals in the wild, from fish to earthworms.
Things we don't know: do these drugs have effects of the humans who re-ingest them? If so are the drinking water concentrations enough to matter? Are feral drugs dangerous or are we all simply on mild doses of prozac all the time? Is that why folks can watch so much stupid TV or play video games all night?