28 September 2008

Dumping Drugs in Water

Why do 46 million Americans* have detectable drugs in their water? Maybe because hospitals dump 250 million pounds of drugs down the toilet each year. Why do they do that? Because it's so expensive to dispose of them through "official" channels. Consider this comment from a prior post:
A rural county in northern WI recently collected old prescriptions to get them out of potential circulation. To safely dispose of those drugs, they had to (a) find a medical incinerator, (b) find a trucker who could legally take them, and (c) find a sheriff's deputy to ride along since the prescriptions included narcotics. The nearest medical incinerator was in Missouri.
Some states (e.g., Colorado) allow people to return old prescriptions to pharmacies.

In case you are not nervous enough, there's been a lot of news recently on how the EPA is NOT going to regulate levels of perchlorate in water. According to Aquadoc and others, this decision is probably linked to the source of perchlorate (rocket fuel) and pressure from the White House to leave the Pentagon out of the "guilty of poisoning Americans" category reserved for Axis of Evil types. Given the history of shenanigans from the Pentagon and this White House, I'd not be surprised if we see a "sudden, unexpected" increase in two-headed babies. (BTW -- did you remember to vote on the poll question?)

Bottom Line: It's our water, and we need to pressure water managers to make sure it's safe.

* 46 million is low because that's the number of people exposed to water systems that have been tested. Many systems are not tested, and tests do not look for all drugs.


  1. I think this problem may be more than small amounts of drugs in the tap water. I just boiled 6 cups of water for a meal. Some of the water boiled away. What was left was a chalky residue and in much thicker amounts than usual. I'm curious what this residue is but I dont have any ways to test it. I'm definitely drinking my tap water anymore. And if you live in the LA area I recommend you boil water to see the results. Its astounding!

  2. @Anon -- that residue is probably safe -- a combination of salts and minerals. LA gets a lot of water from the Colorado river, which has high TDS (total dissolved solids).


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