We have been reporting on the situation of pharmaceutical drugs found in our environmental and drinking water
since 2007 and have sent several update reports including a recent study which exposed the high incidence of
antipsychotic drugs found in fish caught in numerous U.S. fishing areas. This contamination problem will continue
until enough people force existing government agencies to do something about it. For many years, they have turned
a blind eye on the manufacturing, medical and pharmaceutical companies responsible. It is time to up the ante and
take action. Here is the latest information on this problem.
On April 19th the Associated Press reported that U.S. manufacturers, including major drugmakers, have “legally” In fact, many pharmaceuticals were originally designed for industrial or wartime applications and later erroneously repackaged and
released at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals into waterways that often provide drinking water to their
local communities. This contamination is known about, but consistently overlooked by the federal government
according to the Associated Press investigation.
For the full story see: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=103259582#email
Hundreds of active pharmaceutical ingredients that are used in a variety of manufacturing processes, including drug
making have been found in waterways throughout the U.S. including lithium which is used to make ceramics and
treat bipolar disorder; nitro-glycerine which is a heart drug, but has also been used in explosives; copper which
shows up in everything from pipes to contraceptives.
remarketed to allegedly “treat” people for a wide array of health issues, diseases, cosmetics and so forth. Fluoride is probably one of the
more well known products now in the public water system of many cities in a number of countries. Interestingly, Fluoride was a key
chemical in atomic bomb production during World War II.
Two common industrial chemicals that are also pharmaceuticals are the antiseptics phenol and hydrogen peroxide. These account for a
large percent of the 271 million pounds identified as coming from drugmakers and other manufacturers. Both can be toxic.
Federal and industry officials say they don't know the exact extent to which pharmaceuticals are released by U.S. manufacturers because
no one actually tracks them as drugs. But a close analysis of 20 years of federal records found that, in fact, the government does keep data
on a few, enabling us to get a glimpse of the pharmaceuticals coming from factories.
As part of its ongoing “PharmaWater” investigation into trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals in drinking water, Associated press
identified 22 compounds that show up on two lists: the EPA monitors them as industrial chemicals that are released into rivers, lakes and
other bodies of water under federal pollution laws, while the Food and Drug Administration classifies them as active pharmaceutical
The data doesn't show precisely how much of the 271 million pounds comes from drugmakers versus other manufacturers; also, the figure
is a massive undercount because of the limited federal government tracking.
To date, drugmakers have dismissed the suggestion that their manufacturing contributes significantly to what's being found in water.
Federal drug and water regulators agree. But some researchers say the lack of required testing amounts to a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy
about whether drugmakers are contributing to water pollution.
"It doesn't pass the straight-face test to say pharmaceutical manufacturers are not emitting any of the compounds they're creating," said
Kyla Bennett, who spent 10 years as an EPA enforcement officer before becoming an ecologist and environmental attorney.
Last year, the AP reported that trace amounts of a wide range of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood
stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in American drinking water supplies. Including recent findings in Dallas, Cleveland and
Maryland's Prince George's and Montgomery counties, pharmaceuticals have been detected in the drinking water of at least 51 million
Most cities and water providers still do not test. Some scientists say that wherever researchers look, they will find pharma-tainted water.
While the manufacturers and drug companies are pretty well left alone by the government on this issue, consumers are erroneously being
blamed as the biggest contributors to the contamination. However, the Associated Press investigation found that an estimated 250 million
pounds of pharmaceuticals and contaminated packaging are thrown away each year by hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Researchers have found that even extremely diluted concentrations of these drugs harm fish, frogs and other aquatic species. Also,
researchers report that human cells fail to grow normally in the laboratory when exposed to trace concentrations of certain drugs. Some
scientists say they are increasingly concerned that the consumption of combinations of many drugs, even in small amounts, could harm
humans over decades.
Utilities continue to assert that their water is safe. Scientists, doctors and the EPA claim that there are no confirmed human risks
associated with consuming trace concentrations of drugs. But those experts also agree that dangers cannot be ruled out, especially given
the emerging research and the unchecked and continued exposure and ingestion of these “second-hand drugs.”
What do you think? Is it prudent to adopt a “wait and see” attitude and allow government to continue their “don’t ask,
don’t tell” policy regarding regulating our drinking water and holding to account the manufacturers and drug companies
No, we believe it is not.
You can write to the FDA, the Environmental Protection Agency, your government representatives and even your local Department of Water
services to find out what they are doing to confront and properly address this (known) problem. Each needs to know what contaminants
exist in our environmental and drinking water and each needs to be aggressively acting to revert the situation and hold those responsible to
You can easily look up and email your government representatives through the WINHS.Org web site:
Click on - Contact Your Government Representatives (U.S. Senators and Congressmen)
Click on – Contact the FDA (the Food and Drug Administration)
Click on – Contact the EPA (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
Thank you for taking the time to read this alert and (hopefully) doing something about this situation.
All the best,
Rudi C. Loehwing
World Institute of Natural Health Sciences
|The "Business" of Drugs:
Second Hand Pharmaceuticals in Our Drinking Water
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