Pharmaceutical waste or Pharmaceutical pollution
For many years human polluted their rivers with all source of wastes. With World War II and industrial growth, pollution levels made authorities realize that something needed to be done. This is why, over 30 years ago, the national Environmental Protection Agency ( EPA), establish the Clear Water Act of 1972, a permit-based system that gave EPA the authority to determine who could discharge, what kind of waste and where. This gave us control over the situation again, and point source pollution stopped being the leading cause of water pollution in America. That was when a new type of pollution materialize in the picture: pharmaceutical pollution, a result of the accumulation of pharmaceutical waste.
For decades we worried, about analyzing and preventing (or stopping) the effects and impacts of chemical pollution such as PBTs, POPs, DDTs, lead, mercury, Zinc, and the dangerous consequences of the persistence of bio-accumulative intoxicants in the water. So worried indeed, that we forgot to pay attention to the way pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) where also polluting our rivers. Pharmaceutical drugs include a wide variety of elements such as medicament use for treating, diagnosing, or preventing a disease, recreational, illicit and legal drugs, veterinarian medicines, over the counter drugs and nutritional supplements. On the other hand personal care products include everything we use in our daily personal care such as fragrances, cosmetics, sunscreens, creams and lotions. Eventually all this products are either wash by the rain, directly dispose in the sewage when we go to the bathroom, or eliminated when a manufacturer dispose expired or unused drugs, into our rivers and oceans. When we take a pill, our body takes what it needs from it and later discharges what he doesn't when we go to bathroom. Our wastes are flush into the sewage system and the waste stream. The problem is the sewage treatment plants have two mechanisms to remove substances from the waste stream and none of the attack of degrades pharmaceutical waste. As a results pharmaceuticals such as aspirin, hypertension medications and hormones have been found in domestic drinking water.
Because this a fairly new problem and many medicaments that contribute with pharmaceutical pollution are made for humans, we still don't know what kind of negative impact can this have in the environment or how to stop it. Biological diversity makes it harder to determine what is going to happen if the levels of PPCPs keep rising, but most experts are proposing potential toxicity.
Pharmaceutical pollution is something everyone should be concern, there are organic substitute for many drugs and personal care product that are more Eco-friendly than it's chemical equals. Next time you are going to buy slimming pills, or an aspirin ask your doctor to recommend something natural as well and remember not to flush the expire or unwanted pills down the toilet. This is problem we all cause, not only the big pharmaceutical and care products manufacturer. At clean the river project we encourage you to be part of the solution and not the problem and help us stop pharmaceutical pollution today!