I've read several articles over the past decade about the feminization of fish. Male fish are being found in the US, Canada, and Great Britain that have egg sacs in them. A couple of articles reviewing this phenomenon are: http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/03/04/male-female-fish.html and http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100729122332.htm The idea here is that there are anti-androgen chemicals in the water. The articles say one cause of this may be birth control pills. Others may include Bisphenol A (used to make plastic) and steroids from cattle agriculture. My understanding is that when a person takes birth control pills, a lot of the hormone substances actually go all the way through and get urinated out.
Picture from http://lanafft.blogspot.com/2010/09/prescription-drug-abuse-is-epidemic.html
It's my understanding that these chemicals are not all taken out of water before it goes downstream, and I read in one place that some of these chemicals are not taken out during the drinking water purification process. I've also heard that the average male's sperm count is lower and decreasing in recent decades, probably due to the same chemicals. And of course men do more housework than ever before... so it's not all bad I guess. :) A CBS news video dealt with drugs in the drinking water. http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=3920498n
It's clear that we need to be careful about what we're putting in the water. My inspiration for this blog came from http://www.drugs.com/fda-consumer/how-to-dispose-of-unused-medicines-180.html The content of this link is from the Food and Drug Administration. I've always wondered how to dispose of drugs properly, thinking that chucking them in the garbage was NOT COOL! Apparently I was wrong.
Picture from http://www.gburgforum.com/humor/over-the-counter-pills-and-drug-cocktails-an-explatory-essay-on-the-dangers-of-government-mind-control/
Most drugs can be thrown in the trash. Some say to flush them down the toilet. This is to prevent accidental or purposeful overdose of these drugs. Basically if the drug has specific instructions on disposal, follow them. There are also lots of pharmacies and national drug take back days to help reduce environmental pollution. If there aren't specific instructions, then remove identifying information to protect your privacy, and seal them in a plastic bag to prevent leakage into the ground. There is a list of drugs to flush here: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/EnsuringSafeUseofMedicine/SafeDisposalofMedicines/ucm186187.htm
Anyway. Hopefully we can get some better control of drug disposal in the future. A big pat on the back for everyone that is doing what they can. I think the best option for the environment is the national drug take back and going to pharmacies to take the drugs back when they accept them.