The Pharmaceutical Industry Has Us Cornered: How Drugs are Silently Getting into Your System
The saying, “you are what you eat” is true. The food and beverages you consume eventually become part of your body. Your body uses the nutrients you consume to repair, heal, and rebuild your cells across all bodily systems.
Nutritional expert Cynthia Sass puts it like this: “Every cell in your body has a ‘shelf life’ – a stomach cell lives about a day or two, a skin cell about a month, and a red blood cell about four months. So each and every day, your body is busy making new cells to replace those that have ‘expired.’ And how healthy those new cells are is directly determined by how well you’ve been eating.”
Your body will attempt to use everything it gets in this process, even toxic chemicals and other bodily poisons. When your body recognizes a substance as a toxin, specifically a persistent organic pollutant (POP), it can’t be used and is stored in fat cells. Unfortunately, POPs are everywhere in the food supply and since they don’t break down easily, they subject people to a constant low-level exposure of the toxin. POPs have been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, and weight gain and have been found to modify gene expression in fat cells.
We’re all consuming drugs without knowing
Although POPs are known to be harmful, there’s a lesser known threat to your health lurking in the water supply: pharmaceuticals. Since the first major investigation in 2002, studies have found trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in the water supply. Stream surveys found an average of seven compounds in each stream including pain killers, antibiotics, and mood stabilizers. Unfortunately, compounds can’t be filtered out completely and some compounds can’t even be detected.
Drugs are entering the water supply through human waste (including biosolids) and improper disposal (like flushing pills down the toilet). There’s a high probability you’ve got several unknown prescription drugs in your system. Drinking a cocktail of these chemicals can disrupt your bodily functions over time. It’s like giving your body a small dose of poison each time you take a drink.
Drugs in the water aren’t harmless
While some drugs are mostly harmless, many aren’t. In recent years millions of lawsuits have been filed against pharmaceutical companies after patients experienced serious injury, health problems, permanent disability, and even death. Dangerous drugs are recalled at an alarming rate.
Drugs like losartan, irbesartan, and valsartan are just three examples of recently recalled angiotensin II receptor blockers. These three, among several more, were found to contain carcinogenic impurities that caused patients to die. Specifically, valsartan was found to cause liver damage and cancer of the stomach, bladder, pancreas, colon, kidney, and liver. These are the drugs polluting the water supply. These are just some of the drugs you’re unknowingly consuming.
Drug pollutants also find their way to streams, rivers, and lakes, and eventually cause biological imbalances to aquatic life. Not only are we drinking these drugs when we have a glass of water, but we’re eating them when we eat fish and other animals that have been affected.
Not all pharmaceuticals are bad, but many are deadly
Some pharmaceutical drugs are necessary for a person’s survival, but many of them pose a significant risk of cancer and even death. If you go out of your way to avoid processed food and eat organic whenever possible, you’re still probably getting a hefty dose of pharmaceutical drugs in your water.
What you can do to avoid harmful compounds
Although the situation is dire, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of consuming harmful drugs. The Environmental Magazine suggests four simple ways to minimize your exposure:
- Don’t flush medication down the toilet. Whether you have a septic system or you’re connected to the sewer, don’t flush any medication down the toilet. If it doesn’t end up in streams, it will end up in the earth.
- Find a high-quality water filter. Get a water filter specifically designed to filter out drugs and other chemicals. Test your tap water to see what contaminants are present before selecting your filtration system.
- Don’t buy medications in bulk unless necessary. If you throw away expired medication, it might end up in the water supply.
- Find a program that takes back drugs. Some communities have programs that collect unused medications for proper disposal.
Stay updated with legislation
Do you know what your city or county is doing to address the problem? Are they doing enough? Do you have ideas to contribute? Contact your local representatives to find out what’s being done and how you can help.