Monday, March 10, 2008

More druggy water.

More on the drugs in water story. AP reports that many water departments don't exactly go out of their way to let citizens know what's really in their drinking water. By law, water departments have to report to the public on the levels of substances the EPA requires them to. Turns out, very convienently, pharmaceuticals aren't on the EPA's list.

From the Philly angle . . .

"The water department has not informed its 1.5 million users that traces of 56 pharmaceuticals or their byproducts, like the active ingredients in drugs to treat depression, anxiety, high cholesterol, fever and pain , have been detected in the drinking water, and that 63 pharmaceuticals or byproducts had been found in the city's source watersheds. Initially balking at the AP's request to provide test results, Philadelphia Water Department spokeswoman Laura Copeland said,

'It would be irresponsible to communicate to the public about this issue, as doing so would only generate questions that scientific research has not yet answered. We don't want to create the perception where people would be alarmed.'"

See, they don't want there to be a "preception" that the water we're drinking is full of pharmaceuticals that other people pee'd out, even though that's exactly what we are drinking. Why would people alarmed about that?

This is the same sort of loose thinking the Philadelphia Archdioeses used when Lynn Abraham, the local district attorney, came out with a report on preist sex abuse of children. Cardinal Justin Rigali told his flock the report "was not of value for families." [Inquirer]

In other words, what you don't know won't hurt you. Why would any parent want to know their children were being watched over by pediphiles? Why would anyone care about drugs in their water?

Just let people who know better than you tell you what's what.


"Elaine Archibald, executive director of California Urban Water Agencies, an 11-member organization comprised of the largest water providers in California . . . said many customers 'don't know how to interpret the information. They hear something has been detected in source water and drinking water, and that's cause for alarm , just because it's there.'"

Ah, but is it really there? None of your business.


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