Did you know…
· More than 100 different pharmaceuticals have been detected in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and streams throughout the world.1
· Pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment and there is genuine concern that these compounds, in the small concentrations that they're at, could be causing impacts to human health or to aquatic organisms.1
· A vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans.1
· The New York state health department and the USGS tested the source of the city's water, upstate. They found trace concentrations of heart medicine, antibiotics, estrogen, anti-convulsants, a mood stabilizer and a tranquilizer.1
· Even users of bottled water and home filtration systems don't necessarily avoid exposure. Bottlers, some of which simply repackage tap water, do not typically treat or test for pharmaceuticals, according to the industry's main trade group. The same goes for the makers of home filtration systems.1
· In the United States, the problem isn't confined to surface waters. Pharmaceuticals also permeate aquifers deep underground, source of 40% of the nation's water supply. Federal scientists who drew water in 24 states from aquifers near contaminant sources such as landfills and animal feed lots found minuscule levels of hormones, antibiotics and other drugs.1
1. USA Today. AP: Drugs found in drinking water. Available at http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-03-10-drugs-tap-water_N.htm. Accessed on February 26, 2010.
Scary stuff! But there is an organization committed to a solution. The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has launched a program that will allow consumers to return their unwanted medications to their local pharmacist vs. flushing them down the toilet or putting them in the trash. On the most recent episode of Go Green Radio, Dr. Lisa Faast, owner of her own local pharmacy, describes how the program works in her store. Brad Arthur owns two pharmacies, and sits on the Executive Committee of the NCPA – he discusses the costs and details of the take back program. Finally, Dr. Carolyn Ha, the Association Director of Professional Affairs for NCPA, discusses the legal aspects of the take back program. You can learn more at www.disposemymeds.org.
Check out the podcast of the interview by clicking here: