Happy New Year to you also and thanx for your posting, we all need to be reminded of these mundane, everyday issues that most people are unaware of. Your posting was thought provoking and I just want to pass this bit info along in the manner of a simple FYI. (Since I just finished reading about endocrine disruptors and their dramatic affect on the physiology of wild fish in "natural" rivers and streams.)
This very short article was a lay summary of a study being conducted in Boulder, Colorado by Professor David Norris @ the University of Colorado. (With references to other studies on alligators in Florida, birds in the Great Lakes, and fish in Lake Mead and Great Britain.)
THE GIST: Endocrine disruptors, aka "gender benders," are a class chemicals, including natural and synthetic hormones, that are altering the sexual physiology of fish and wildlife in rivers below municipal waste water treatment facilities. The sexual transformations under study are caused primarily by estrogens and chemicals that mimic estrogen. "By mimicking estrogen the gender benders block regular hormonal movement, disrupting the body's normal functions."
"People are literally dumping synthetic or real estrogens down the drain - household cleaners, cosmetics... birth control hormones... plastics... [and] some types of of detergents and shampoos." Endocrine disruptors, he feels, "pose the latest challenge to ecosytems and possibly to humans... We never realized that by concentrating human populations we also are concentrating these chemicals, so they are getting up to significant levels in our water supplies."
THE SACRY PART: These chemicals work in parts per billion and parts per trillion but municipal sewage and waste water treatment facilities are NOT monitored for these chemicals because there is NO legislative mandate to do so. "The big question remains whether or how these chemicals affect people."
NOTE: The "Miracle Drug" DES (diethylstilbesterol), prescribed for pregnant women between 1938 and 1971 is an endocrine disruptor... and we know how badly that turned out.
HIS MESSAGE: "When you dump something down the drain and think its gone, it's not... It's still out there, folks."
(Just a thought... perhaps pharmaceutical companies should be responsible for recycling or disposal programs?!?!)
From: "Leanne Meyer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reply-To: "Leanne Meyer" <email@example.com>
Subject: E-M:/ Perscription drup disposal
Date: Mon, 2 Jan 2006 21:18:32 -0500
Since a family member is going through some serious medical programs, there arises the question of what to do with the drugs that are unused for various reasons.So I decided to put this to the test and see what type of answers I got. My first stop was to my local drug store-answer: Flush them down the toilet! Oh my gosh-that will never do and I explained why to them.Second stop, a couple of Doctor's offices. They do not take them back or know how to handle the disposal of them. They have taken the "not responsible" attitude. They just write the darn things and lots of them at that.Next stop was County Health Dept-Environmental. Was told it was looked into some time back, but the rules, regulations and expense prohibited it.OK-what avenues does that leave the average, uninformed citizen? My guess many are getting the "flush" answer and following through with it. That puts us all in the middle of an interesting situation-the flush puts most into our local Public works systems, which most of us know ends up in some stream or river. Which a some point may end up in our drinking water by different means.I do think that at the very least there should be some information developed for drug stores and doctors offices on to best ways to hand these drugs-which I do not really know who would do that.My best guess is to encase the drugs in there original bottle etc, in some sort of container-plastic bottle maybe- and throw them into the landfill. At least our super-duper constructed landfills should slow down the leeching process some.Sure would like some feed back on this subject on what is recommended in your area or is there any such thing.Just something to ponder for the new year.Happy 2006 and think positive thoughts!Leanne MeyerMason