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Written on March 25, 2010, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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That bracing morning shower and soothing bedtime soak in the tub are potentially important but until now unrecognized sources of the hormones, antibiotics, and other pharmaceuticals that pollute the environment, scientists reported at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco on March 24. The first-ever evaluation, they said, could lead to new ways to control environmental pollution from active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), which has been the source of growing concern.

Ilene Ruhoy, M.D., Ph.D., who co-authored the study, said that scientists have long known that bathrooms are a portal for release of APIs into the environment. An active ingredient in a pill is the medicine, usually combined with binders to hold the pill together, stabilizers, and other inactive ingredients. However, scientists and pollution control officials assumed that toilets were the main culprit, with APIs excreted in urine and feces and flushed into sewers and sewage treatment plants. APIs may go right through the disinfection process at those plants, and enter lakes, rivers, and oceans. Some also end up in the environment when people flush unused drugs down the toilet. Scientists have found traces of the active ingredients of birth control pills, antidepressants, and scores of other drugs in waterways. Some end up in drinking water at extremely low trace levels.

"We’ve long assumed that the active ingredients from medications enter the environment primarily as a result of their excretion via urine and feces," said Dr. Ruhoy. She directs the Institute for Environmental Medicine at Touro University in Henderson, Nev., and did the research with Christian Daughton, Ph.D., of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Exposure Research Laboratory in Las Vegas. "However, for the first time, we have identified potential alternative routes for the entry into the environment by way of bathing, showering, and laundering. These routes may be important for certain APIs found in medications that are applied topically, which means to the skin. They include creams, lotions, ointments, gels, and skin patches."

Posted via email from Preposterous Guru

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