The title of this post may not be as far fetched as it seems. According to a report in today’s New York Times the concentrations of pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) in the water supply is steadily increasing because people are disposing of these products either via their urine, washing them off in the shower or by flushing unused or out-of-date products away.
Reports of contamination with pharmaceutical residues can be alarming, even when there is no evidence that anyone has been harmed. In 2004, for example, the British government reported that eight commonly used drugs had been detected in rivers receiving effluent from sewage treatment plants. A spokeswoman for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was “extremely unlikely” that the residues threatened people, because they were present in very low concentrations. Nevertheless, news reports portrayed a nation of inadvertent drug users — “a case of hidden mass medication of the unsuspecting public,” as one member of Parliament was quoted as saying.
Researchers suspect that the volume of P.P.C.P.’s excreted into the nation’s surface water and groundwater is increasing. For one thing, per capita drug use is on the rise, not only with the introduction of new drugs but also with the use of existing drugs for new purposes and among new or expanding groups of patients, like children and aging baby boomers.
Since most doctors are now giving out statins like Halloween candy I suspect that it won’t be long before our streams and rivers are filled with them. Then Dr. John Reckless will have his way. We will all be getting statins in our drinking water.