Thursday, August 7, 2008

It Must Be Something in the Water

Jill Stanek posted today on Iain Murray's recently released book, The really inconvenient truths: seven environmental catastrophes Liberals don't want you to know about - because they helped cause them. One of his chapters focuses on the very relevant issue of hormones being dumped into our water systems. Murray writes:

"Why don't we have more outcries about hormones, and campaigns to save the fish populations? Why aren't environmentalists lobbying on Capitol Hill to keep these chemicals from being dumped into our rivers?...
"Maybe because the source of these chemicals is not some corporate polluter, but something a little more dear to the Left: human birth-control pills, morning-after pills, and abortion pills."

The contraceptive pill has fundamentally changed American life, making sex more casual, morals looser, husbands and wives more distant. Its messed with women's fertility. In short, it has been a game-changer, in some fundamental and not-so-good ways. And because its introduction came 40 years ago, at a time when American culture was enamored with Woodstock, feminism and free love, prescient warnings and cautions.."

Jill goes on to suggest a liberal motive for turning a blind eye to this problem. She says:


"If the pill feminizes male fish, what does it do to male children? It must do something - decrease fertility? feminize boys, i.e., create gays?

I'm sure the Left is not touching this pollutant for all the reasons Lopez and Murray
noted.

But could there be an insidious motive for allowing estrogen to remain in the human
water system?"

Although I personally wouldn't argue that hormones in the water are indeed making our boys gay, I have to admit something is affecting the fertility of women in the U.S. Consider the fact that more girls are being born than boys and that girls are reaching puberty at younger ages. You have to wonder. As more and more problems are linked to birth control pills, the liberal left has to face the fact that God's original plan of marriage and reproduction is always the best way.

4 comments:

john said...

This is a subject that has been lurking just beneath the surface of the environmental movement for quite a few years. Every so often a study comes out with rather surprising results indicating the presence of pharmaceutical contaminants in the public drinking water. Unfortunately, without exception, the results of these tests are published in obscure scientific journals or equally obscure professional papers and the general public never gets to see them.

There are serious reasons to fear the presence of pharmaceuticals in our drinking water, even more so than other pollutants. Mainly, pharmaceuticals were specifically designed to interact with the human body; they were purposely made to change the body in some major way. This is significant! If these drugs, made to cause change to somebody's body, are put into the water being consumed by the public at large then what are they doing to us? Unfortunately, nobody really knows.

All American water suppliers do a pretty good job of filtering their water before pumping it to consumers but these drugs are not screened out by such filtering; they are passed right along to the consumers. Even more significantly, most water suppliers don't even test for the presence of such drugs in their water and, those that do, don't publish the results. The consumers are never told of the presence of such drugs in their drinking water.

In my own humble opinion, the constant and persistent ingestion of powerful drugs from drinking water over a period of years just has to be having some strong effects on those who drink it. Don't forget that this drug-tainted water is being consumed by pregnant mothers, babies, developing children along with everyone else. More studies are clearly needed sooner rather than later.

Matthew Cochrane said...

Ugh. I had never even heard of this problem.

BW, wouldn't the water filtration systems in place filter out this crap from our drinking water before it came out our faucets though?

Matthew Cochrane said...

"All American water suppliers do a pretty good job of filtering their water before pumping it to consumers but these drugs are not screened out by such filtering"

Why not John?

john said...

Matthew: This is in response to our questions . . .

The following is a highly edited version of a much larger article describing an investigation by the Associated Press earlier this year. The snippets that would answer your specific question, Matthew are:

. . . most treatments do not remove all drug residue . . .

The federal government doesn't require any testing and hasn't set safety limits for drugs in water.

Plus, the EPA says there are no sewage treatment systems specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals.

One technology, reverse osmosis, removes virtually all pharmaceutical contaminants but is very expensive for large-scale use and leaves several gallons of polluted water for every one that is made drinkable.

There's evidence that adding chlorine, a common process in conventional drinking water treatment plants, makes some pharmaceuticals more toxic.

To me, tis is very scary stuff and I would advise anybody to investigate this further as I have had the feeling for years that this could be one of the major causes of some of our most serious social problems. It's looking more and more as though t might actually be possible.


Study Finds Traces of Drugs in Drinking Water in 24 Major U.S. Regions
Monday, March 10, 2008


How do the drugs get into the water?

People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue.

The federal government doesn't require any testing and hasn't set safety limits for drugs in water. Of the 62 major water providers contacted, the drinking water for only 28 was tested. Among the 34 that haven't: Houston, Chicago, Miami, Baltimore, Phoenix, Boston and New York City's Department of Environmental Protection, which delivers water to 9 million people.

The AP's investigation also indicates that watersheds, the natural sources of most of the nation's water supply, also are contaminated. Tests were conducted in the watersheds of 35 of the 62 major providers surveyed by the AP, and pharmaceuticals were detected in 28.

City water officials declined repeated requests for an interview. In a statement, they insisted that "New York City's drinking water continues to meet all federal and state regulations regarding drinking water quality in the watershed and the distribution system" — regulations that do not address trace pharmaceuticals.

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.

In the United States, the problem isn't confined to surface waters. Pharmaceuticals also permeate aquifers deep underground, source of 40 percent 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.

"People think that if they take a medication, their body absorbs it and it disappears, but of course that's not the case," said EPA scientist Christian Daughton, one of the first to draw attention to the issue of pharmaceuticals in water in the United States.

Some drugs, including widely used cholesterol fighters, tranquilizers and anti-epileptic medications, resist modern drinking water and wastewater treatment processes. Plus, the EPA says there are no sewage treatment systems specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals.

One technology, reverse osmosis, removes virtually all pharmaceutical contaminants but is very expensive for large-scale use and leaves several gallons of polluted water for every one that is made drinkable.

Another issue: There's evidence that adding chlorine, a common process in conventional drinking water treatment plants, makes some pharmaceuticals more toxic.

Human waste isn't the only source of contamination. Cattle, for example, are given ear implants that provide a slow release of trenbolone, an anabolic steroid used by some bodybuilders, which causes cattle to bulk up. But not all the trenbolone circulating in a steer is metabolized. A German study showed 10 percent of the steroid passed right through the animals.

Recent laboratory research has found that small amounts of medication have affected human embryonic kidney cells, human blood cells and human breast cancer cells. The cancer cells proliferated too quickly; the kidney cells grew too slowly; and the blood cells showed biological activity associated with inflammation.

There's growing concern in the scientific community, meanwhile, that certain drugs — or combinations of drugs — may harm humans over decades because water, unlike most specific foods, is consumed in sizable amounts every day.

Our bodies may shrug off a relatively big one-time dose, yet suffer from a smaller amount delivered continuously over a half century, perhaps subtly stirring allergies or nerve damage. Pregnant women, the elderly and the very ill might be more sensitive.

"We know we are being exposed to other people's drugs through our drinking water, and that can't be good," says Dr. David Carpenter, who directs the Institute for Health and the Environment of the State University of New York at Albany.