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Drugs in Water

Just when you thought it was safe to drink the water .... reports finally surface about the pharmaceutical drugs that pollute our water supplies.

The first study that detected drugs in sewage was in 1976, in Kansas City. It was not recorded in scientific literature until 1997! In March 1998, German scientists reported in Science News, that anywhere from 30 to 60 drugs can be measured in a typical water sample - if anyone cares to take the trouble to analyse= it. The concentration of some drugs are comparable to the levels at which pesticides are already typically found.

The question is, what is the long term effect of drinking, day after day, a dilute cocktail of pesticides, antibiotics, painkillers, tranquilisers, chemotherapy agents, hormones and so on?

In 1992, researchers in Germany were looking for herbicides in water when they kept noticing a chemical they could not identify. It turned out to be clofibric acid [CA] a drug used by many people in large quantities to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood. CA is a close relative of the popular weed killer 2.4-D. Are you beginning to see how everything seems to tie together? Into a vicious circle?

Since 1992, researchers in Germany, Denmark and Sweden have been measuring levels of CA and other drugs in rivers, lakes and the North Sea. To everyone's surprise, the entire North Sea contains measurable quantities of CA! Based on the volume of the sea, it is estimated that the North Sea contains a staggering 48 to 96 tons of clofibric acid [Environmental Science and Technology 32[1J: 188-192, 1998].

Drugs are designed to have certain characteristics. For example, most drugs tend to dissolve in fat but not in water. Remember our discussion on this earlier? No fats in diet = no bile = high cholesterol. Now we also learn that no fats in diet = no ability to absorb and utilise most drugs! There is that circle again! Unfortunately, we 'pass' the bulk of these drugs into the environment - in fact, when a human or animal is given a drug, anywhere from 50 to 90% of it is excreted unchanged! They do not dissolve in the water, they enter our food chain - through water, plants and even animals.

Many drugs are also designed to retain their chemical structure for a long time. A landfill used by the Jackson Air Station in Florida contains an underground 'plume' of chemicals that has been moving slowly for more that 20 years. The drugs pentobarbital [a barbiturate], meprobamate [a tranquiliser sold as Equanil and Miltown in the States] and phensuximide [an anticonvulsant] are still measurable in that groundwater. [Chemosphere, 36[2]:357-393, 1998]

It is no wonder that bacteria develop resistance so quickly to drugs - they are constantly exposed to small quantities in the environment Like the Borgia's who took minute quantities of poison all their life, so they could not be poisoned by their enemies, bacteria and viruses are likewise becoming immune to our 'poisons'. I just wish we could be 'immune' from all this!

Of course that is not all that's in our water. Apart from parasites like giardia and cryptosporidium, we have chlorine, fluoride, aluminium sulphate and lead, just to name a few of the bad ones.

Chlorine is implicated in heart disease, arteriosclerosis, anemia, high blood pressure, allergies and cancers of the bladder, stomach, liver and rectum. Chlorine also binds and reacts with many other chemicals to form carcinogens like chloroform for example. It is also ineffective - as we witnessed in Sydney, chlorine was unable to knock out the giardia. Doesn't all that make chlorination dangerous as well as pointless?

Aluminium sulphate has long been associated with memory loss, Alzheimer's and cardiovascular disease.

Fluoride is pure poison. It's toxicity is high enough to be used as pesticide or rat killer, in higher concentration. Instead of preventing tooth decay, it is proven to cause it. It also corrodes copper pipes - causing copper to leach into your water, negating your body's intake of essential zinc! Many countries, including Belgium, Holland, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland have stopped fluoridation. When will we stop it?

Perhaps it's more clear now, why I recommended you to Rainbow Pure in the last issue. [Pure water, revitalised with a 'Grander' unit from Rainbow Pure Australia, 9727 3555, home delivered in Melbourne - $ 7.50 for 11 litres.] This wonderful element we've taken for granted is essential to our health - there is no efficient cell function without good water, resulting in dehydration, irritability, fatigue, nervousness, dizziness, weakness, headaches and consequently leading to - diseases.

And I am sorry but rain water is almost as polluted as our 'town' water. From radioactive isotopes to carbon monoxide, sulphuric acid and lead - are all collected in rainwater. And tap water has been proven unsuitable even for showering!

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