by: Ingrid Justick
Vol. 25, No. 1
The U.S. Geological Survey found traces of over-the-counter and prescription drugs, including hormones from birth control pills, in lakes, rivers, ground and tap water. Our septic systems or treatment plants are not designed to remove drugs from wastewater. Scientists are trying to determine the effect the exposure to this mixture of drugs has on our environment. Early studies show that even small amounts of pharmaceutical products in our water affect the health of our aquatic life, our health and all life on earth. Some of these micro-pollutants break down naturally when exposed to sunlight. But most chemicals in drugs degrade very slowly or not at all, and enter our waterways.
Few people think about what happens to medicines after they do their work in the body. Most ingested drugs actually pass out of the body with urine and make their way into our groundwater. You can minimize their polluting effects by selecting remedies and other products with fewer synthetic and toxic ingredients whenever possible. Finish your prescribed medications. Also:
- Dispose of medicaitons safely: Do not pour unused portions down the drain. Instead, return medications to a local pharmacy or hospital that accepts toxic waste.
- Buy nonprescription drugs in small enough quantities so you can use them before the expiraiton date. If you must toss drugs, leave them in their container and wrap it up tightly in a small plastic bag to minimize that the drug will leech into the groundwater at the garbage disposal center.
- Filter your water. Reverse osmosis systems or granular activated carbon filters work to remove inorganic pollutants.
legislators to devote
resources to developing a nationwide
plan for the safe disposal of over-the-counter and prescription medication.
- Support research efforts of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Toxic Substance Hydrology Program, which is testing our water for micro-pollutants. Under proposed budget cuts it may lose most of its federal funding.
Our Earth was formed as a sacred space, protecting us with a life-giving atmosphere. Please protect our Earth.
For environmentally friendly information call: 732-922-2935
Printing compliments of The Atlantic Club