Not what the doctor ordered
You may find this astonishingly hard to believe, but the FDA (yes, the Food & Drug Administration, of these United States) recommends washing your old drugs down the sink, or flushing your old drugs down the toilet! In the case of the latter, it includes things like transdermal fentanyl patches (Isn’t that just terrific for your plumbing).
Why do they suggest this? Apparently not everybody has access to proper disposal facilities, they tell us. They are so concerned with getting OxyContin and Percocet out of your medicine cabinet to make sure that someone doesn’t take them accidentally, or to prevent the use by someone to whom they were not prescribed. There is a certain logic to that, but really, should we be contaminating our drinking water?
It’s not their first choice
The FDA, drug manufacturers, and probably your own physicians or druggists say that we should dispose of drugs safely. Your local municipality has ways of disposing of hazardous material—you can check to see if it’s permissible to dispose of your old drugs with your household trash.
If permitted in your trash, pills, capsules, and tablets ought to be taken out of their containers, put into a plastic bag and blended with something nasty like used kitty litter, coffee grounds, diapers (use your imagination). They will end up in a nice, safe landfill and will stay out of our water supply.
Many municipalities have semiannual drug disposal events where you can drop off your old, un-required, expired drugs and they’re managed safely. The idea of flushing them into our sewers simply means that they are going to make their way back into the environment, irrespective of what the FDA says.
This contention that there is no safe way to dispose of drugs for some people is silly. You can take them back to the drugstore from which you got them. They can dispose of old drugs. Nursing homes sometimes order drugs by the truckload; inevitably some of them are going to expire before they’re used; and they have proper disposal methods available to them. There really is no reason that our children should be getting trace amounts of our prescriptions from our drinking water.
In touch with your feminine side
Men, there is no shame in being a well-rounded guy who understands the female perspective. Even so should it really be because people are flushing old birth control pills down the toilet and you’re getting dosed with progestin and estrogen in your drinking water, or every time you shower? Almost always a bad idea…
Is sewage treatment adequate?
Only about half of the prescription drugs and other newly emerging contaminants in sewage are removed by treatment plants says a 2013 report— International Joint Commission—United States and Canada Great Lakes study
Eleven of the 42 substances studied had a very low removal rate. That equates to a one-in-four chance to remove 75% or more. What were some of the things that were escaping? They include anti-inflammatory drugs, antibacterial drugs, two different kinds of antibiotics, and even anti-seizure medications.
Showered with gifts?
While these drugs and other contaminants are generally only present in parts per trillion ratios, when all these substances are combined, these contaminants might reach the parts per billion, or even parts per million once they are all added together. Is this what you want spraying in your face and all over your skin every time you shower? The constant, day-after-day cumulative exposure, especially to antibiotics, is just giving bacteria a chance to get stronger and more resistant.
Ultimately the best solution is to dispose of pharmaceuticals properly. Encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. If you’re done with a particular drug, take it back to the pharmacy where you obtained it for proper disposal.
In the meantime, get yourself a high quality shower water filter so that you are not dousing yourself in this chemical bath every day. It’s very much like the old story about boiling a frog… If you put a frog in cool water and increase the temperature 1° at a time, it will never show any discomfort or try to escape until it dies.
You may have become accustomed to the exposure, but that doesn’t mean that it’s good for you, or that it is having no ill effect. A shower filter is a good investment.
Our multi-stage, sophisticated filter systems render pharmaceuticals harmless; they get rid of does all toxic metals in the water; they kill microbes which can cause illness. A shower filter is a remarkably inexpensive way to protect your loved ones.