The Narcotics In Our Drinking
By James Donahue
Bad enough that the drugs humans
are taking are being passed through our excrements and making their way into our drinking water.
Now, in addition to the antibiotics,
the blood pressure medications, birth control pills, the tranquilizers, hormones, heart medicines and sexual stimulants passing
through this nation of pill poppers, authorities say they also are finding antibiotic drugs used for enhancing animal growth,
preventing disease and increasing feed efficiency in farm animals.
A study designed to identify
antibiotics in rivers, lakes and aquifers that come from both human and animal users, has also detected drugs specifically
used in farm animals.
The study looked for traces
of the antibiotic Monensin, used to enhance growth in cattle, in waterways located near animal feeding operations. The results
were shocking. In some cases the concentration of the drug was from 20 to 1,000 times greater in stream sediment than in the
Ken Carlson, the principal
investigator in the study, said the discovery raises three primary concerns. He said there is a potential toxic danger to
fish, plants and other aquatic organisms. There also is a concern that the drugs will affect humans who consume them in drinking
water, since existing water treatment plants are not equipped to eliminate them.
The final and most disconcerting
worry is that the types of animal and human antibiotics getting in the water are contributing to the emergence of new strains
of drug-resistant disease bacteria.
The two-year study, a collaborative
work by the Federal Drug Administration and Colorado State College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, is not
only looking for drugs in waterways, the group is attempting to find ways to control them.
For example, the Colorado State
group is working with area cattlemen in an effort to identify the best management practices to minimize the release of these
drugs into the environment, said cooperative investigator Amy Pruden.
Pruden said it is believed
these compounds get in waterways because only a fraction of the drugs are metabolized by both animals and humans. This means
active compounds pass through the body and are discharged into public wastewater systems. Because the compounds are still
active, they become an environmental issue.
Thus the very real threat grows
that the water we drink, that we use for cooking and bathing, is saturated with minute traces of uninvited narcotics that
are collectively affecting our health.
Even though researchers are
aware of this problem . . . they are not sure a solution can be found. The complex system of human and animal waste disposal,
involving home and farm septic tank processing, municipal lagoon and chemical processing plants, have no way of separating
these drugs from the water that eventually finds it way back into the lakes, streams and ground water supplies.
Environmental Protection Agency apparently has not addressed this problem. There have never been minimum standards set for
determining how many parts per million of drugs to water is tolerable. And no one yet knows what the long-term effects drinking
this pharmaceutical cocktail every day will have on our health.
has determined that the mixture is clearly having an effect on fish and other animals that drink directly from the toxic filled
streams. Eating the fish and the meat of hunted game only adds to the amount of chemicals ingested by humans.
is not a problem found only in North America. It is global. Recent studies have found similar mixtures of drugs in the water
supplies in Canada, Asia, Australia, Europe, Brazil and South Africa.
you think bottled water will solve the problem, guess again. It has been found that the contaminants cannot be filtered from
the tap water or from the natural springs where it has been traditionally collected. Virtually no water source is safe.
The best solutions, it seems, would
include either reducing the amount of narcotic use or sending all human and animal excrement to toxic waste dumps. This
includes all unused drugs in homes, hospitals and doctor’s offices that have been disposed of the old-fashioned way….either
by flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in waste disposal containers.
Drug companies will not
want to give up their big profits so getting us all off the drug machine probably won't be an option. Will enough disposable
land be found in this overpopulated and polluted world to satisfy the demand for piling up toxic waste?
Will anybody even try
to find an answer?