Drugs in the waterways....

By enquirewithin · Apr 4, 2007 · ·
  1. enquirewithin
    Residues of medicines turning up in waters

    By Cornelia Dean

    The New York Times



    Residues of birth control pills, antidepressants, painkillers, shampoos and a host of other compounds are finding their way into the nation's waterways, and they have public health and environmental officials in a regulatory quandary.
    On the one hand, there is no evidence that the traces of the chemicals found so far are harmful to human beings. On the other hand, it would seem cavalier to ignore them.
    The pharmaceutical and personal care products, PPCPs, are being flushed into the nation's rivers from sewage treatment plants or leaching into groundwater from septic systems. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, researchers have found these substances, called "emerging contaminants," almost everywhere they have looked for them.
    Most experts say their discovery reflects better sensing technology as much as anything else. Still, as Hal Zenick of the agency's office of research and development put it in an e-mail message, "there is uncertainty as to the risk to humans." In part, that is because the extent and consequences of human exp

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  1. zera
    As drug users should be well aware concentration plays a major factor on whether we should be concerned or not (a body concentration of 350 mg/kg of MDMA will kill you, 2 mg/kg will make you feel really good with no long-term effects, and .02 mg/kg won't do a thing to you) . Virtually all pollutants will have no effect when their concentration in air/water/soil falls below a certain level. For example DDT was bad when we dusted entire fields with it, so it was banned. However a little bit of DDT sprayed around houses could virtually eliminate malaria, a disease that kills millions in the third world.

    It sounds to me like the concentration of these PPCPs falls well below the danger level, and since no scientific evidence exists that they are dangerous at their current concentrations it seems like nothing more than a shot in the dark to say that something needs to be done about them. And every single one of these products have been carefully tested on humans to estabilish a threshold of effects, we already know the concentration that's environmentally harmful to humans and clearly the waterways is below it. The whole thing reeks of environmental scare-mongering to me, by all means research should continue on them, but I'm definitely not going to lose any sleep.
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