Drug Residue Found in Ohio River

Researchers in the Ohio River, testing both upstream and downstream of Louisville, have detected chemicals and <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/defective_drugs">pharmaceuticals, The Chicago Tribune reported. Concentrations were detected at low levels and included, said The Tribune, antidepressants, veterinary hormones, and cocaine, citing The Courier-Journal.

We’ve been following the issue of pharmaceuticals in drinking water and the danger of these drugs on human, environmental, and aquatic communities. Recently, we wrote that showers and baths could be polluting our waterways with hormones and antibiotics. The information was released by scientists at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco on March 24. This first-of-its-kind analysis could promote emerging methods in which to “control environmental pollution from active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs),” said Science Daily.

Dr. George Bosse, medical director of the Kentucky Regional Poison Center in Louisville, said anti-anxiety, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiac medications were detected, as were antibiotics, caffeine, and nicotine from tobacco products, wrote The Tribune.

Water and sewer officials said the contaminant reduction could occur if treatment plants were upgraded to satisfy current standards, although Louisville officials said that current treatments remove some of the identified contaminants, explained The Tribune.

The Tribune wrote that the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission study, which was conducted at a cost of $85,000, researched for 158 contaminants that included 118 “pharmaceuticals, hormones and personal care products,” with samples taken from 22 sites. The Commission study is known as ORSANCO, which partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said The Tribune. The screening survey—a 279-page document—consists generally of raw data; however, the final report is expected sometime in 2011, explained The Tribune.

Peter Tennant, deputy director of the commission, discussed the issue surrounding determining what levels require reduction saying, “It would be nice if we had a better sense of which chemicals to worry about,” quoted The Tribune.

A scientist who did not work on the study, but who did review the data, said that some of the pollutants involved have been linked to male fish feminization, said The Tribune “When we see something this basic being altered in fish, we should be concerned about what it’s doing to our own health,” said biologist Peter DeFur, a research associate professor at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), quoted The Tribune.

We recently wrote that one study noted that scientists have been aware, for some time, that bathrooms are responsible for much of the APIs release into the environment, with research pointing to toilets being the main conduit of drug release into the water, citing APIs’ excretion via urine and feces into toilets in which the path continues into sewage treatment plants. APIs could pass through disinfection entering lakes, rivers, and oceans.

Some APIs taint the environment when medications are intentionally and unintentionally flushed down toilets. And, sweat is another newly recognized pathway and can occur when clothing has either been in contact with medications applied to the skin or when medications sweated out of the skin enter the fabric, enabling a stronger concentration of those medications because they do not require break down in the liver or kidneys.

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