Preserving the Mississippi...sort of...

Nick Denbow, of the UK's ProcessingTalk writes: Thermo Fisher Scientific mass spectrometry equipment is used in Europe and Canada for research and monitoring of drinking water supplies, and for the detection of pharmaceutical residues. Their recent release suggests that an AP report has mentioned the levels of pharmaceuticals found in US drinking water, and this has come as a surprise to the US media. Last year I was amazed that my US relations and their health professionals had no understanding of the hazards of disposing of dangerous medications into the domestic waste water, and this was at the top of the 2,300-mile Mississippi River, with 28 city abstractions downstream! Possibly the US agencies should look at some educational information on this, but is enough said about the problem in Europe as well? AP have many stories on this topic currently, but cynically the one of most interest to me was the report that US bottled water also does not have any testing or regulations about the allowed levels of waste pharmaceuticals either. This puts me in mind of something my old friend, Dr. Takashi Asano, once said. "Look, Walt, I don't understand what the furor is about. The Mississippi is 2300 miles long. Every city along it takes water. We eat it, excrete it, pump it full of preservatives, and pump it back into the river. By the time it gets to New Orleans, there's a lot of chemicals in it. But it is drinkable." And Takashi said that almost 30 years ago. Yet, as far as the mainstream media are concerned, this is new news, and the sky is falling.
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  • <p>The fundamental questions raised by the AP report relate to something that medical science does not deal with very well: are there any long term effects from very low dosages of various things, including pharmaceuticals, hormones, fertilizers, minerals, and so forth? </p> <p>We could filter the water to the point where it would be nearly pure --but at what cost? How do we know if it is doing any good?</p>


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