How The Us Love Affair With Prescription Meds Is Insinuating Itself Into Our Soil, Our Fish And Even Our Plants
America, we need to talk: you have a drug problem. Medications are everywhere, you don’t even bother to hide it anymore. You leave them out for anyone to see; you are toxic with them. You have so many drugs running through you, you could be Keith Richards’ stand-in for a Rolling Stones video shoot.
And just to be clear, we are talking about America, the country, we’re not talking about the people.
The country itself has a drug problem, many drug problems to be precise, and they are likely to only get worse. Prescription meds are showing up in our fish, our water and even our plants, recent studies show.
And who could be surprised at the news? Over 70 percent of Americans regularly take a prescription drug. About half of Americans take two. Roughly 25 percent take five or more prescription medications, according to research by the Mayo Clinic.
And as they say, all things must pass. In this case, pass as in pass through our bodies in the form of urine. From the toilet to the waterways and recycled water supplies and the oceans. With all those drugs floating around–literally–they are bound to be taken up again at some point along the food chain. And we’ve known for some time that certain fish can absorb enough toxins to register in testing the meat of the fish.
But a recent study is revealing something new: plants can also absorb used medications from waste-water being used to water them.
The University of Jerusalem recently released a study that shows that crops watered with reclaimed waste water can indeed take up the medications humans have previously consumed. Specifically, researchers examined carbamazepine, an anti-convulsant that si used to treat epilepsy, and which is also ubiquitous in terms of the rates at which it is detected in waste water, and it is known to be taken up by crops.
So the researchers had subjects eat produce that had been irrigated with wastewater for seven consecutive days.
By the end of the week all the test subjects had detectable levels of carbamazepine in their urine.
Thus the demented circle of life continues: they could pee out their own carbamazepine tainted urine and grow crops with it, and so on.
In reality, the researchers were quick to point out that the levels of the drug the test subjects showed were significantly lower than in those who take the drug directly.
Nonetheless, the results could be very meaningful for people affected by lower doses such as infants or pregnant women. And then there are vegetarians who consume proportionally much more vegetable matter than meat eaters.
Imagine testing positive for valium or percocet at your work–how would you even begin to know that it came from eating salads made with lettuce grown with reclaimed water? Never mind how you might begin to explain.
America, you have a drug problem indeed. Its time to kick the habit, for all of our sakes, the soil, water, fish and plants will thank you.