Last month, we talked about the endocrine disruptor atrazine (it induces formation of aromatase…which plays a role in the conversion of testosterone to estrogen).
The timing was perfect, as the AP concluded a 5 month investigation into pharmaceuticals in national water supplies last month as well. They found trace amounts of pharmas in 24 major metropolitan areas, including San Francisco. In SF, the AP found the sex hormone estradiol present in trace quantities in our water. Scary stuff eh? Let’s break it down.
Let’s start at source: You take drugs. Drugs are designed to flood your system. You pee the extra out.
Pee travels down to the wastewater treatment plant. We went on a tour of a waste water plant….remember how they mentioned they don’t clean a number of organics (including cooking oils)? Well, that fun stuff often gets flushed out into the ocean or lakes unperturbed. Maybe some bacteria break it down along the way. It gets diluted through the water cycle…ends up in minute/microscopic quantities back in our water supply.
Studies have shown exposure to estrogen is part of path to certain cancers, including breast and prostate cancer.
We don’t know what long term exposure to these low levels of pharmas will do. Probably nothing on their own, but they are part of a greater picture of “stress” on our bodies.
If you’re scared, protect yourself by using a carbon filter…it effectively removes most of these pharmas even at low concentrations. And take the time to properly dispose of your drugs.
But let’s back up for a sec…how come these items go untreated at the wastewater plants? I specifically asked for the effluent data on my last visit to the wastewater treatment plant…got the runaround with no luck. And I think that’s the point…how are we “treating” our waste? Where is the transparency of data (the AP mentions how difficult it was to get this data)?
Well, I for one care about what is getting pushed out into the Pacific from my toilet. And I’m going to write my local water authority to ensure they do as well.