Did you know that city water treatment plants clean for germs, but not for pharmaceuticals?
In Philadelphia, for example, traces of 56 human and veterinary medicines or their byproducts have been detected in the drinking water. That’s residuals of medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness and heart problems, among others. From medicine cabinets and feed bins, the drugs are excreted or discarded from homes or enter the watershed from farms.
In a classic Bush-era dodge, the EPA, which of late has done less to protect the environment than sell it to the highest bidder (oil, logging, and drug companies, to start the list), says: “Our position is there needs to be more searching, more analysis.” The EPA still has yet to reach conclusions on environmental catastrophes such as global warming using the same tired excuse. Excuse me, but I know a class of 8th graders that can do a water sample analysis for you, if you need the help.
Drugs in the environment are “not currently a priority” of the National Center for Environmental Health, a subsidiary of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sigh. When will it become a priority? When it affects the income of the pharmaceutical giants?
In Colorado, we are dealing with the after effects of strip mining companies who came, destroyed, profited, and left, leaving behind radioactive streams and toxic piles of tailings for others to clean up. Why does it feel like the pharmaceutical companies are doing the same thing? And why are we allowing them to get away with it?
** To read more about this issue and see the results of 41 other cities, google Jeff Donn, the AP reporter spearheading the investigation.