Dazed and Confused: Drugs in Drinking Water
Drugs in Drinking Water: There is an unhealthy cocktail of drugs in your drinking water. With each sip, you self-medicate with anti-anxiety and even psychotropic drugs.
Without knowing it, you are being medicated. Maybe even now you have a cup of coffee or tea in hand, filled with water compliments of your local municipal system. Think those sodas and energy drinks are any better? Think again. Unless the water is specifically filtered for pharmaceuticals, you’re still getting dosed.
There is an unhealthy cocktail of drugs in your drinking water.
Did you know with each sip, you self-medicate with anti-anxiety and even psychotropic drugs? That’s right, according to a report released this past week in Science, environmental pollution by pharmaceutical companies are a major threat to our world’s water supplies.
According to the study’s abstract;
“Here we show that a benzodiazepine anxiolytic drug (oxazepam) alters behavior and feeding rate of wild European perch (Perca fluviatilis) at concentrations encountered in effluent-influenced surface waters. Individuals exposed to water with dilute drug concentrations (1.8 micrograms liter–1) exhibited increased activity, reduced sociality, and higher feeding rate. As such, our results show that anxiolytic drugs in surface waters alter animal behaviors that are known to have ecological and evolutionary consequences.”
According to Wiki, oxazepam is a benzodiazepine used extensively since the 1960s for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia and in the control of symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Upon further research, the side effects of oxazepam may include dizziness, drowsiness, headache, memory impairment, paradoxical excitement, retrograde amnesia, but does not affect transient global amnesia. Side effects due to rapid decrease in dose or abrupt withdrawal from oxazepam may include abdominal and muscle cramps, convulsions, depression, inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, sweating, tremors, or vomiting.
Other reports, such as one by Michael Thomas of Idaho State University in Pocatello, and published in the scientific journal, PLoS ONE, states that low levels of antidepressants and other psychoactive drugs in water supplies can trigger the expression of genes associated with autism.
According to Thomas, this raises the possibility that pregnant women who drink water containing trace concentrations of these drugs will pass them along to the fetus. The fetus has a leaky blood-brain-barrier, which allows drugs to pass directly into the developing brain.
“The drugs affect activity of serotonin and other neurotransmitters, which are important in the development of neurological networks and, basically, affect how the brain is wired,” Thomas said.
In the newest research, fathead minnows were allowed to swim in a low-level cocktail of anti-epileptic drug carbamazepine and two selective serotonin uptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants, fluoxetine and venlafaxine. The minnows were exposed to the drugs for 18 days. It was found that the genes associated with autism in humans appeared to be significantly altered. Most of the genes involved are significant in early brain development and wiring.
So how do the drugs enter our bodies? Basically, the same way they exit. The cocktail of drugs enter our water system through those taking the drugs. And in the past 25 years, psychotropic drug use has increased dramatically. Around 80 per cent of each drug passes straight through the human body without being broken down. That waste water gets cycled through the municipal treatment plant then passes right back into the environment. In nearly all communities, water purification systems cannot filter out these pharmaceuticals. “They just fly right through,” says Thomas, which means they ultimately end up back in your tap water.
Here’s the definition of a psychotropic drug, again, thanks to Wiki; A psychotropic is a chemical substance that crosses the blood–brain barrier and acts primarily upon the central nervous system where it affects brain function, resulting in alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, and behavior.
Think about that folks. Your behavior is being affected by drugs in the water supply. Think fluoride is bad? Now add psychotropic on top of it and you have a potentially lethal – slow acting – but still lethal, cocktail of drugs entering your body every day.
The anecdotal evidence seems to hint at a link to the rise of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illnesses, autism and the pervasiveness of certain types of cancer. Shouldn’t that be enough to mandate further filtering requirements? And not simply the dismissal out of hand of results published in independent studies? Are profits truly more important that human health? As it appears now, at this moment in our history, that answer appears to be a resounding yes.
Independent studies are the key. One Yale medical professor states there is analysis that industry-sponsored studies are 3.6 times more likely to lead to a drug’s approval. The drug approval process is important to understand. From drug approval to drugged tap water regulation, the process is a lifecycle connected by a lot of money. Follow it.
There are many new studies detailing how Big Pharma pushes physicians to over-prescribe drugs. Here’s one. A Senate investigation into GlaxoSmithKline uncovered evidence that the company influenced studies of its diabetes drug, Avandia, to disguise potential heart dangers. Want to understand drug legislation better? It’s simple. Follow the money.
How’s this. Over a year-long period ending in August, the New England Journal of Medicine published 73 articles on original studies of new drugs, encompassing drugs approved by the FDA since 2000 and experimental drugs, according to a review by The Washington Post.
Of those articles, here’s how they breakdown regarding Big Pharma influence:
- 60 were funded by a pharmaceutical company
- 50 were co-written by drug company employees
- 37 had a lead author, typically an academic, who had previously accepted outside compensation from the sponsoring drug company in the form of consultant pay, grants or speaker fees
The New England Journal of Medicine is not alone in featuring research sponsored in large part by drug companies — it has become a common practice – even for municipalities. Last year Big Pharma spent about $39 billion dollars on studies. That’s more than the National Institute of Health (NIH) spent. NIH spent about $31 billion.
See the problem(s)?
In 2008, an AP investigation showed a long list of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — mixing in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans. Once the report was published, followed by quick bang-bang reporting by on-air personalities, the issue simply disappeared. Coincidence? Think Big Pharma wasn’t behind some of that disappearing act? Try watching cable news, or nightly news on any of the alphabet networks. Notice how many of the commercials are about drugs. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.
Follow the money.
There is growing consensus in the scientific world that drugs in the water supply will ultimately harm humans over long periods of time. How much time? Nobody knows. There are few studies being conducted. Even the EPA is silent on the subject – except for nitroglycerin. Nitro, used in heart medication, is only being studied because of its use in explosives. Safety of the homeland, after all, is paramount.
I have submitted a request for all studies concerning pharmacological pollutants and filtration to a large metropolitan water company via a Freedom of Information Act request. Once I have received the information I will include those results in future articles concerning water safety.
For now, I’ll continue to follow the money. And report back to you what I stumble onto. I would also recommend each of you take time to write your representative and start new initiatives in your area. If your representative doesn’t respnd. Go public. Tell the public in a clear, loud voice; “I called my rep, and he (or she) didn’t respond to my concerns.” Start your own investigations. Push your own initiatives. And remember… follow the money.