Friday, March 5, 2010

Pharmaceuticals are an Emerging Pollutant for the Great Lakes

A new report by the Alliance for the Great Lakes explores the emerging threat of pharmaceuticals in our drinking water. While many officials say that the levels of pharmaceuticals are low enough that they are not a public risk, it is still not known how these drugs will interact with existing chemicals in the Great Lakes.

There is also no way to really stop them at the moment. Wastewater treatment systems are not equipped to remove pharmaceuticals from the drinking water. There have been recent public campaigns to educate the public to not flush prescriptions down the toilet, as well as places you can bring unwanted prescriptions to be properly disposed of. Much of the waste products still come from secreted urine from patients on medications. Other pathways that pharmaceuticals get into the waterways are from landfills, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and health care facilities.

The report makes the following recommendations: creating drugs that degrade in the environment, introducing new measures for health care workers that can reduce pollution, more research in virtually every area, drug take back programs, and manufacturers being required to list their products' toxicity information.

See the report for yourself: Protecting the Great Lakes from Pharmaceutical Pollution

Alliance for the Great Lakes Press Release:
Drugs in Drinking Water: New Report Explores Emerging Great Lakes Threat, Solutions

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