Yuck! Drug Sludge in a Glass

Thirsty? Have a sip of this, sweetie. Sure, it looks like water. It even tastes like water. I swear it came from a

Eight 500 mg ciprofloxacin tablets, manufactur...
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water-treatment plant.

What, you don’t trust me? Well, alright, now that you asked, here’s what’s really in this nice clear glass of…um, water:

According to the AP, “enough of a single, powerful antibiotic was being spewed into one stream each day to treat every person in a city of 90,000. And it wasn’t just ciprofloxacin being detected. The supposedly cleaned water was a floating medicine cabinet — a soup of 21 different active pharmaceutical ingredients, used in generics for treatment of hypertension, heart disease, chronic liver ailments, depression, gonorrhea, ulcers and other ailments. Half of the drugs measured at the highest levels of pharmaceuticals ever detected in the environment, researchers say.”

Yeegads. Is this YOUR water? Well, it’s someone’s water – the water of an area of India. Now the drugs in that water, those probably are ours.

“Those Indian factories produce drugs for much of the world, including many Americans.”

You may remember a previous Doc Gurley article that also appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle about pharmaceuticals appearing in YOUR glass of water (America – Most Expensive Pee In The World). In that case, the pharmaceuticals are believed to be in your water because we all pee them out, and our water-treatment doesn’t even TRY to remove them. The Doc Gurley suggested solution here was for drug companies to put some of their bloated profits toward developing better water-treatment technology, before they found themselves drowning in lawsuits.

This situation in India is probably a bit different in that the belief is that pharmaceutical companies are  dumping the drugs straight in. Who wants to bet what might be growing in that stream now – especially when you consider that sewage is being mixed with it? Gives the term “superbug” a whole new meaning, now, doesn’t it? You shouldn’t outsource jobs unless you outsource the environmental responsibilities that should go with them. Just another reason to re-think the mega-profiteering and outsourcing of (our supposed safe and responsibly made – ha) pharmaceuticals.

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