Top Health Tools
Top Health Tools

Top Reports
Top Reports
 
Top Articles
Top Articles

Top Reviews
Top Reviews
   
Mitigating the Problem of
Pharmaceuticals in Drinking Water


We've become a nation dependant upon drugs. For better or worse, we use pharmaceuticals for everything from getting to sleep to waking up. We use them to stabilize our moods and to increase our sex drives. But what happens to these drugs once we're done with them?

On a recent episode of Food Chain Radio, Michael Olson talked with Alan Roberson of the American Water Works Association and environmental attorney, George Mannina to find out what to do about it.

Our water treatment facilities are not equipped to handle all of the drugs that end up in our water. And bottled water is no better because it usually comes from the same sources. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires hundreds of tests each month on municipal water supplies, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water, requires only one test a week on bottled water.

This is no new phenomenon but its effects are becoming more apparent as testing technology evolves. Testing technology has gone from being able to test water in terms of parts per million to parts per billion. The impact of some of these drugs is more clear than others. For example, antibiotics are showing up in our drinking water, which is scary when you consider that 65,000 Americans die per year from antibiotic resistant bacteria. Some of the drugs have even been linked with diabetes, breast cancer, and kidney problems. Even worse, healthcare facilities dump about 250 million pounds per year, which could end up in our water supply. These hazardous drugs could include oncology drugs and toxic pain killers.

Mitigating The Problems of Drug Contaminated Water

We can talk about it until the cows come home, but what can we do to fix the problem? First of all, we need to come up with a means of properly disposing of unused pharmaceuticals that linger in our medicine cabinets. Most parts of the country don't have a means of disposing of residential hazardous medical waste like they do for other hazardous waste.

As far as medical facility waste goes, the EPA has guidelines in place to regulate the disposal of hazardous medical waste. The problem is that medical staff are sometimes untrained regarding compliance criteria. Staff must first determine whether particular material is hazardous and then determine the appropriate method for disposal. Medical waste, according to Roberson, should be disposed of at available burning facilities that burn the material at extremely high temperatures. The temperatures are so high in fact, that the chemical bonds are broken.



February 1, 2010
Share/Bookmark
...............................................................................................................

This site is owned and operated by PreventDisease.com 1999-2017. All Rights Reserved. All content on this site may be copied, without permission, whether reproduced digitally or in print, provided copyright, reference and source information are intact and use is strictly for not-for-profit purposes. Please review our copyright policy for full details.
aaa
Interact
volunteerDonateWrite For Us
Stay Connected With Our Newsletter