(NaturalNews) While their amounts might seem miniscule, the effects of drugs, chemicals and other undesirable elements that you drink every day when you grab a glass of tap water can take their toll over time.
That's according to several experts who have addressed the issue of pollutants in our ground water for decades. One of the latest to do so was Dr. Jim Erban, director of the Tufts Cancer Center. According to a recent story in WickedLocal, a Cape Cod-area newspaper:
Tired of hearing about wastewater, runoff, fertilizers and nutrient pollution of the ground water? Well, there are nearly undetectable and untreated chemicals in the groundwater to worry about as well: drugs used and unused, pesticides, fire retardants, artificial hormones, caffeine, insect repellants, antibiotics, and more - it'll all show up again when we turn on the faucet or take a swim.
'The best example is the drug DES'
While the amounts may be small, almost immeasurable at parts per trillion, if you're imbibing on a daily basis, decade after decade, the exposure adds up, according to researchers who spoke in Hyannis [recently].
"The best example is the drug DES," Erban told a local crowd Oct. 2, "which was used until 1971 to prevent premature labor. Women would take it for several months before birth. Were it not for the fact a very rare cancer appeared decades later we would not have known low levels of exposure could cause cancer. And there is some evidence the daughters of these women have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer, 40 years later, a two month exposure to the drug."
Erban made his comments at a research update sponsored by the Silent Spring Institute, a non-profit research center founded in 1991. The institute's founding members wanted science to look beyond current treatments and seek out preventable causes of breast cancer in women, since the breast cancer rate in the Cape Cod region is 20 percent higher than the national average. Because of that higher percentage, the institute of late has turned its focus to ground water contaminants as a possible cause.
"Breast cancer studies suggest 20 to 25 percent is genetics and the rest is environmental causes. It's the things we do eating, exercising, what we're exposed to," Erban said.
For a number of years, breast cancer cases increased across the U.S. before finally leveling off at the current rate of about 200,000-250,000 per year. Currently, China is experiencing a similar rise in breast cancer cases - at a time when the country is undergoing major industrialization and dealing with unprecedented levels of pollutants tied to economic growth.
"So it's a problem of affluence and environmental exposure," Erban noted.
The institute has refined its research techniques over the past 20 years, noted Dr. Laurel Schaider.
Drugs in the water, unfortunately, nothing new
"Our analytical techniques are getting better and we're getting a handle on chemicals and where they are in the water," she explained. "These chemicals are not regulated and there is no set list. Alot [sic] of our research is on endocrine disruptors; examples would be bisphenol A (used in plastic bottles), DDT, PCBs, PBDE (a flame retardant). There's concern low levels of endocrine disruptors cause effects you don't see when you study higher levels."
Mike Adams, the Health Ranger and editor of Natural News, has been reporting on the occurrence of prescription medications in our drinking water for nearly a decade.
In a 2004 piece, he cited an English study which "looked at 12 pharmaceuticals thought to pose an environmental threat, including painkillers, antibiotics, and antidepressants, and it found traces of these pharmaceuticals in both sewage waters and drinking water. It also found traces in the rivers downstream from the sewage treatment plants" [http://www.naturalnews.com].
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