Friday, April 27, 2012

Studies Find More Chemicals, Medications in Drinking Water

A study has found what starts out in someone else's personal medicine cabinet is often finding its way into water consumed by Tennessee residents.

There was a time Tennesseans were instructed to flush unused drugs down the toilet, but new studies, including one recently in the Volunteer State, found an alarming number of chemicals in drinking water. 

"The pathway from the toilet to the stream is pretty direct," explained James Kingsbury, a Hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey.

According to the USGS's latest study, Tennessee residents are consuming several surprising compounds such as caffeine, hand sanitizers, Ibuprofen, Prozac and insect repellant. 

"These are compounds that aren't typically monitored in drinking water," Kingsbury said. 

Franklin police Sgt. Charles Warner added, "I think that the average unassuming person probably thinks that they're trying to do the right thing by disposing of the medication, but really all they're doing is compounding a very complex problem."

In an effort to encourage Tennessee residents to dispose of unneeded or expired medications correctly, several Mid-State police departments are sponsoring drug drop off programs on Saturday.

In Franklin, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents and members of surrounding communities can drop off prescription and over-the-counter medication.

Also on Saturday in Rutherford County, drop off sites will be set up at LaVergne City Hall, the Smyrna Police Department and Middle Tennessee Medical Center in Murfreesboro.

In Metro Nashville, residents can drop off unwanted drugs at marked green boxes at their local police precinct.

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