Thursday, May 3, 2012

Water! Water! Water!: How safe!

On C.N.N.:
“(AP) – 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, an Associated Press investigation shows.
In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas -- from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit, Michigan, to Louisville, Kentucky….

The situation is undoubtedly worse than suggested by the positive test results in the major population centers documented by the AP.”
Here are some of the key test results obtained by the AP:
• Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 56 pharmaceuticals in treated drinking water (63 in watersheds), including medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness and heart problems.
• Southern California (18.5 million people) – anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications in a portion of the treated drinking water.
• Northern New Jersey (850,000 people ) – metabolized angina medicine and the mood-stabilizing carbamazepine in drinking water.
• San Francisco, California – a sex hormone was detected in the drinking water
• Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas – drinking water tested positive for six pharmaceuticals.

The Washington Post headline reads:
Drugs in Water Hurt Fish and Wildlife:
According to the report, the affected species include: fish, prawns, oysters, mussels, vultures, snails, antelope etc.
“Pharmaceuticals in the water are being blamed for severe reproductive problems in many types of fish: The endangered razorback sucker and male fathead minnow have been found with lower sperm counts and damaged sperm; some walleyes and male carp have become what are called feminized fish, producing egg yolk proteins typically made only by females.
Meanwhile, female fish have developed male genital organs. Also, there are skewed sex ratios in some aquatic populations, and sexually abnormal bass that produce cells for both sperm and eggs.
There are problems with other wildlife as well: kidney failure in vultures, impaired reproduction in mussels, inhibited growth in algae.”
Victoria Falls—not tested! ©2005 Am Ang Zhang

Are we just looking at the excesses of the Americans? Apparently not. The same article reports:

Elsewhere in the world: from the icy streams of England to the wild game reserves of South Africa; snails, fish, even antelope, are showing signs of possible pharmaceutical contamination. For example, fish and prawn in China exposed to treated wastewater had shortened life spans, Pacific oysters off the coast of Singapore had inhibited growth, and in Norway, Atlantic salmon exposed to levels of estrogen similar to those found in the North Sea had severe reproductive problems.
… Freshwater mussels exposed to tiny amounts of an antidepressant's active ingredient released premature larvae, giving the next generation lower odds of survival; in a separate lab study, the antidepressant also stunted reproduction in tiny fresh water mud snails….
In Pakistan, the entire population of a common vulture virtually disappeared after the birds began eating carcasses of cows that had been treated with an anti-inflammatory drug.”
Have the locals in Barbados been right all along? They have always claimed to have the best coral filtered drinking water! Was that one of the reasons why they have the second highest number of centenarians per capita in the world?

You may ask: What about bottled water? Antimony, a chemical used in the making of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, used by most mineral-water sellers, can be detected in bottled water, according to Prof. Shotyk at the University of Heidelberg:

Bottled water had an average 160 ppt of antimony when opened immediately after bottling. But ground water stored in a PET plastic bottle had 630 ppt of antimony when opened six months later.
Prof. Shotyk no longer drinks water from PET bottles.”
Volvic was in trouble in 2006: two bottles had naphthalene in it. So was Evian: in 2007, China seized 118 tons of Evian water because of excessive amounts of bacteria.
Also, don’t forget that some bottlers simply repackage tap water. According to the industry's main trade group, they do not typically treat or test for pharmaceuticals.
I think I will start my own distillation plant for water, like they do in Aruba.
Or else just drink wine.


hyperCRYPTICal said...

Wine seems a sensible option...

Anna :o]

blackdog said...

Second that Anna, or only use water in glass bottles as do I. Also watch the additives in anything you put on your skin and avoid parabens, SLE's etc.

Kindest regards CC.

Cockroach Catcher said...

Thanks,Anna and Blackdog.

The truth is I have been to some parts of the world where the only safe drink is a beer, in original bottle.

Ever watch Slumdog Millionaire? They fill plastic bottles with tap water and superglue the lids.