Prescriptions drugs easily enter water system

Re: Treated Sewage Effluent Still Poses Threat, Sept. 23 Capital News.

To the editor:

Treated Sewage Effluent Still Poses Threat, Sept. 23 Capital News.

With so many people taking prescription drugs this problem is going to become worse not better.

Prescription drugs pass through our bodies and are excreted in the urine. Comprised of long chain molecules, their strong and complex bonds are not broken down by the bacteria used to treat water at a wastewater treatment facility. Hence these molecules pass through the treatment plant unchanged and unaffected. Discharged into receiving streams and other large bodies of water, they have been shown to affect aquatic life. Endocrine inhibitors affect natural spawning and sexual orientation of fish. Fewer fish are actually spawning and mutations in the fish species are on the increase.

Drug companies, to their credit, have identified this as a big issue and are trying to come up with new molecular configurations possessing weaker atomic bonds that break down more easily into smaller molecules. The theory is that the smaller molecules can then be assimilated by the bacteria in the environment. Use of ultraviolet (UV) and ozone are successful strategies to break apart the long chain molecules but are prohibitively expensive and produce many new molecules whose affect on the environment are not known.

Currently endocrine inhibitors are not monitored at treatment plants.

It is a sad observation that the EPA shows more interest in regulating CO2 (a hot politically correct potato related to global warming theories and which most living organisms respire) as a pollutant than they are in regulating this current and growing threat to our environment.


Thomas Stanton, Kelowna



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