Thursday, March 27, 2008

Prayer vs Care

Okay, so this story will more than likely be known more locally than nationally, but is still important.

First off, here's the news story, courtesy of Theron and AP:
WESTON -- An 11-year-old girl died after her parents prayed for healing rather than seek medical help for a treatable form of diabetes, police said Tuesday.
Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said Madeline Neumann died Sunday.
"She got sicker and sicker until she was dead," he said.
Vergin said an autopsy determined the girl died from diabetic ketoacidosis, an ailment that left her with too little insulin in her body, and she had probably been ill for about 30 days, suffering symptoms like nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness.
The girl's parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, attributed the death to "apparently they didn't have enough faith," the police chief said.
They believed the key to healing "was it was better to keep praying. Call more people to help pray," he said.
The mother believes the girl could still be resurrected, the police chief said.
Telephone messages left at the Neumann home by The Associated Press were not immediately returned.
The family does not attend an organized church or participate in an organized religion, Vergin said. "They have a little Bible study of a few people."
The parents told investigators their daughter last saw a doctor when she was 3 to get some shots, Vergin said. The girl had attended public school during the first semester but didn't return for the second semester.
Officers went to the home after one of the girl's relatives in California called police to check on her, Vergin said. She was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.
The relative was fearful the girl was "extremely ill, dire," Vergin said.
The girl has three siblings, ranging in age from 13 to 16, the police chief said.
"They are still in the home," he said. "There is no reason to remove them. There is no abuse or signs of abuse that we can see."
The girl's death remains under investigation and the findings will be forwarded to the district attorney to review for possible charges, the chief said.
The family operates a coffee shop in Weston, which is a suburb of Wausau, Vergin said.


Now, here's my take on all this:

I understand the freedom of religion. I fully support it. Just because I identify more closely with Buddhism than any other religion does not mean it is right for everyone, nor does it mean that I need to shove it down people's throats. Freedom of religion is one of the unalienable rights that we all are entitled too, and anything hindering that is a hate crime...

unless it hurts somebody.

I'm sorry, but unless you know how to take care of your child medically, you should take them to the doctor. Having grown up not going to the doctor really at all but having a condition which almost requires at the very least a semi-annual checkup, I have great disdain for people who do not seek the proper care for their children. If you have the money and insurance to do it (and maybe not even the money - honestly, what's more important to you?), your children should go to the doctor when they need to. There is not excuse for a lack of care when you have the means, because there are families all over the world whose children are dying because they don't even have the means to eat, let alone visit the doctor when they need to.

I am so ready for us to become like Canada already, but maybe minus Ellen Page as my competition for Theron.

Yes, there are certain religions which do not allow their followers to go to the doctor, let alone get blood work and proper care. And I will not denounce them. However, I think it is stupid and reckless to not make sure that you and your family are healthy. Even if I did join one of those religions, I would not follow that ideal. I'm sure that any loving and good God that might exist would permit me that one "sin."

Unfortunately, I have to wait unti October this year to get insurance back, and even that'll be through work, so who knows what it'll cover for sure. For now, I will have to settle with going to the free clinic downtown and getting a checkup sometime in the near future. I'm also gonna try to get my sister in as well. Who knows when I'll be able to get in though. Hopefully relatively soon, because I'm not feeling at that well lately.


In other news, I'm going to the Islamic Society of Milwaukee Mosque on Sunday. It's in Milwaukee, obviously, so it'll be fun driving there, but I'm not that worried about it now. I'm more excited. I just wish that work had given me the time I asked for off, so that I could be done with the paper for it already. Although I function well with writing papers in a crunch, I really would prefer some extra time to get it done, instead of having to write it all right after my visit. Oh well, it'll be fresh in my mind at least.

Oh, and Easter was a blast. The Body Works exhibit at the museum is pretty awesome. Anyone who's interested in bodies and how they work should go... unless you have a weak stomach of course. :)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What a Perfect Place for Spring Break

Despite the flooding issues (and the President describing Missouri as a major disaster), Missouri is probably a fun spring break destination.

Times Beach, Missouri - sounds like a nice little town right? There's probably a nice beach along the Meramec River where everyone can play around, soak up some sun, and absorb all that dioxin from the soil. Virtually forgotten about now, Times Beach was the site of a terrible dioxin dumping problem.

Although Russell Bliss (the man responsible for the problem) and Northeastern Pharmaceutical and Chemical Company (NEPACCO) never got charged with anything regarding Times Beach, they are definitely to blame. The chemical company used to produce Agent Orange during the Vietnam war, the production of which leaves behind clay and other by-products even more rich in dioxin the Agent Orange itself. Here's where Bliss comes in. He used to help eliminate dust problems in horse stables by spraying used oil on the ground. Nowadays we understand how detrimental to an animal's health that could be, but imagine if it were worse. What if Bliss mixed waste from NEPACCO with the oil? And then was contracted to help keep dust down on the unpaved roads in town? That is, in fact, what happened.

Later, people from the town would recall how the dirt would turn purple after Bliss' upkeep, and the dozens of dead and rabid animals that popped up around the same time. The CDC started to investigate the dead horses from the stables where Bliss was working, and got an employee of the chemical company to admit to their (now illegal) way of disposing of the toxic waste. The government then sued the chemical company in 1980. The EPA began to investigate and take soil samples. Meanwhile many people were getting sick and dying, most likely of forms of cancer and autoimmune diseases characterized by a high white blood cell count.

In December of 1982, following flooding that had already evacuated most of the approximately 2500 people of Times Beach, the EPA publicly announced that the levels of Dioxin were harmful to life in the area. This not only caused panic in the town, but also prompted Regan to establish a Dioxin task force to investigate the town further. In late February of '83, the EPA announced that it would buy the town for around $32 million.

By 1985, everyone (but one elderly couple) was evacuated from the town. Because of all the rumors circulating Dioxin, the former residents of Times Beach were shunned in their new communities. They still were paying mortgages on their unlivable houses and barely being able to get by. Despite the government buying the town, they did not help the former residents with bills, medical issues, or anything. Many of the townspeople sued the chemical company, Bliss, and others in the wrong, but Bliss and the others never were formally charged with any wrong doing.

Finally in 1996-97, Syntex, the parent company of NEPACCO, did help to foot part of the bill for the cleanup, but only $10 of the $110 million that it cost to incinerate some of the contaminated dirt. For the longest time, there were signs telling drivers to not use air conditioning, heating, and to keep their windows rolled up due to the poison all around.

Now, the former town is the site of the Route 66 State Park. One of the buildings from the town is still standing (Steiny's Inn, built in 1935), and it is now a museum telling the story of Times Beach. It is perfectly fine to visit, according to the government. The park features great hiking, biking, and horse trails.

This town shares an eerie past with another toxic area - Love Canal. I'll post more about that a different day, but just know that both cities' tragedies led to more environmental protection laws, laws that we tend to take for granted today.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My day

was definitely brightened by getting today's Dinosaur Comic in my inbox.

furthermore, helen kane, betty boop, frank sinatra, rhonda towns, rose murphy, tina louise, and patricia kaas also all want to be loved by you, alone. this is sourced to wikipedia.

I hope he does more of these. There are just so many songs that would be totally different if summed up concisely - like most of the songs on the Juno soundtrack (which I've been listening to a lot lately).

My favorite song on there is "Anyone Else But You" by The Moldy Peaches (with a reprise by Michael Cera and one Ms. Ellen Page). The melody is pretty simple, as are the lyrics, but they're so cute and quirky too.

You're a part time lover and a full time friend
The monkey on you're back is the latest trend
I don't see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

I kiss you on the brain in the shadow of a train
I kiss you all starry eyed, my body's swinging from side to side
I don't see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

Here is the church and here is the steeple
We sure are cute for two ugly people
I don't see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

The pebbles forgive me, the trees forgive me
So why can't, you forgive me?
I don't see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

I will find my nitch in your car
With my mp3 DVD rumple-packed guitar
I don't see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

Du du du du du du dudu
Du du du du du du dudu
Du du du du du du dudu du

Up up down down left right left right B A start
Just because we use cheats doesn't mean we're not smart
I don't see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

You are always trying to keep it real
I'm in love with how you feel
I don't see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

We both have shiny happy fits of rage
You want more fans, I want more stage
I don't see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

Don Quixote was a steel driving man
My name is Adam I'm your biggest fan
I don't see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

Squinched up your face and did a dance
You shook a little turd out of the bottom of your pants
I don't see what anyone can see, in anyone else
But you

Du du du du du du dudu
Du du du du du du dudu
Du du du du du du dudu du
But you

So how would the compressed lyrics for this song go I wonder...
Two people are singing about loving each other despite their faults... and one of them pooping their pants.


Scheduling for next semester starts this next week. I've got down two classes I want to take, but still need another religion class and history class. I'll figure it out eventually I'm sure.

I had a great day yesterday. It's nice to have a car. Theron and I went to lunch and then watched the Simpsons movie, which was fantastically funny. And then Voyager was on - The Omega Directive is definitely a great episode.

I feel a little weird today. Kelsey came home early, and I've been completely unproductive because of it... Well that and the fact that I spent an hour in Walmart this morning. I should've known better than to try and go in for just one thing...

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Yet another post spurred by a friend's myspace bulletin. She posted a survey about her love life, and it got me to thinking. It was about the little things - money, food, chores. We're always so quick to talk about the everyday idiosyncrasies that we love and hate, but somehow that makes us lose track of the big picture, the best things - the way they make us feel.

Everyone is guilty of this. Some of us get too attached, others not attached enough.We all get too short with our loved ones, and don't apologize sometimes when we should. And I know that a lot of us who have been hurt in the past have a hard time trusting those we love and worrying that we're not good enough, not perfect.

I think that if we could step back from the everyday snippy comments, insecurities, and annoyances, and look at why we feel in love with our sweethearts, we would appreciate them more. Love isn't easy, but it is worth it. It is a part of the hierarchy of needs for a reason.

I'm sure that first when we analyze we'll see the physical things that we like. Theron's smile just threw me overboard. His eyes are amazing, but the way they light up when he smiles... it's indescribable. The day I met him, that's what immediately attracted me physically.

Then we'd probably move on to the next thing we notice - more than likely a (lack of) sense of humor and personality. For most people, we need someone enough like us that they dorky, silly things we do don't make us feel stupid. Someone who can understand the things we've been through, who we can relate to. But we also need someone different enough that we get along well. Theron and I have led different lives by far, but our interests are similar, we understand each other, and we can look past the other stresses in each other's lives to see the real person and his/her feelings.

If my past relationships have taught me anything, it's that the first month of one is so easy -- figuring out the easy boundaries, discovering the other person... honestly, it's more infatuation than love. But true love isn't always easy, but is hard and a difficult journey. If we work hard enough, maybe, just maybe, we can get past the mundane anger and frustration and truly appreciate the people close to us.

In other news, I got a car. Well, my mom got a different car and I get hers rather. I have most of this week off, which will be nice for reading and catching up/getting ahead on homework. And I think I'm starting to get over being sickly. My arthritis is being crap lately, but that's to be expected with more humid weather.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


So I got my license today finally. The test was pretty easy. I took Nando's advice this time and took it in Watertown, which is such a nice little town. My actual license will show up via mail within a week or so. So I'm excited.

Oh! And I'm moving into the dorms next semester. And looking for a car.

I wish life was like the bubble wrap commercial gracing my television screen at present.

Friday is casual day at Kmart - anyone have ideas? I might just wear me clothes, but I don't know... outfit ideas would be appreciated.

In arthritis news, my knees hurt like crap this morning, which made work fun. My hands aren't happy either - very dry skin and lots of rash lately.

I have a test on Christianity tomorrow, along with a counselor meeting around 8am.

If no one has checked out the quotation marks blog, I highly suggest you do so - funny stuff!


Tuesday, March 11, 2008


All drugs containing PHENYLPROPANOLAMINE are being recalled. STOP TAKING anything containing this ingredient. It has been linked to increased hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding in brain)among women ages 18-49 in the three days after starting use of medication. Problems were not found in men, but the FDA recommended that everyone (even children) seek alternative medicine.

The following medications contain Phenylpropanolamine:

  • Acutrim Diet Gum Appetite Suppressant
  • Acutrim Plus Dietary Supplements
  • Acutrim Maximum Strength Appetite Control
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Children's Cold Medicine Effervescent
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold medicine (cherry or orange)
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold Medicine Original
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Cough Medicine Effervescent
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Flu Medicine
  • Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Sinus Effervescent
  • Alka Seltzer Plus Night-Time Cold Medicine
  • BC Allergy Sinus Cold Powder
  • BC Sinus Cold Powder
  • Comtrex Flu Therapy & Fever Relief
  • Day & Night Contac 12-Hour Cold Capsules
  • Contac 12 Hour Caplets
  • Coricidin D Cold, Flu & Sinus
  • Dexatrim Caffeine Free
  • Dexatrim Extended Duration
  • Dexatrim Gelcaps
  • Dexatrim Vitamin C/Caffeine Free
  • Dimetapp Cold & Allergy Chewable Tablets
  • Dimetapp Cold & Cough Liqui-Gels
  • Dimetapp DM Cold & Cough Elixir
  • Dimetapp Elixir
  • Dimetapp 4 Hour Liquid Gels
  • Dimetapp 4 Hour Tablets
  • Dimetapp 12 Hour Extentabs Tablets Naldecon DX Pediatric Drops
  • Permathene Mega-16
  • Robitussin CF
  • Tavist-D 12 Hour Relief of Sinus & Nasal Congestion
  • Triaminic DM Cough Relief
  • Triaminic Expectorant Chest & Head
  • Triaminic Syrup Cold & Allergy
  • Triaminic Triaminicol Cold & Cough

Triaminic is voluntarily recalling the following medicines because of a certain ingredient that is causing strokes and seizures in children :

  • Orange3D Cold &Allergy Cherry (Pink)
  • 3D Cold &Cough Berry
  • 3D Cough Relief Yellow 3D Expectorant

They are asking you to call them at 800-548-3708 with the lot number on the box so they can send you postage for you to send it back to them, and they will also issue you a refund.

And in case you don't want to trust everything you read on my blog, go check out the FDA site.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Probe Finds Drugs in Drinking Water
Posted: 2008-03-09 21:42:14
Filed Under: Health News, Nation News, Science News
(March 9) - A vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.

To be sure, the concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Also, utilities insist their water is safe.

But the presence of so many prescription drugs — and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen — in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

In the course of a five-month inquiry, the AP discovered that drugs have been detected in the drinking water supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas — from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit to Louisville, Ky.

Water providers rarely disclose results of pharmaceutical screenings, unless pressed, the AP found. For example, the head of a group representing major California suppliers said the public "doesn't know how to interpret the information" and might be unduly alarmed.

How do the drugs get into the water?

People take pills. Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue.

And while researchers do not yet understand the exact risks from decades of persistent exposure to random combinations of low levels of pharmaceuticals, recent studies — which have gone virtually unnoticed by the general public — have found alarming effects on human cells and wildlife.

"We recognize it is a growing concern and we're taking it very seriously," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Members of the AP National Investigative Team reviewed hundreds of scientific reports, analyzed federal drinking water databases, visited environmental study sites and treatment plants and interviewed more than 230 officials, academics and scientists. They also surveyed the nation's 50 largest cities and a dozen other major water providers, as well as smaller community water providers in all 50 states.

Here are some of the key test results obtained by the AP:

--Officials in Philadelphia said testing there discovered 56 pharmaceuticals or byproducts in treated drinking water, including medicines for pain, infection, high cholesterol, asthma, epilepsy, mental illness and heart problems. Sixty-three pharmaceuticals or byproducts were found in the city's watersheds.

--Anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications were detected in a portion of the treated drinking water for 18.5 million people in Southern California.

--Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed a Passaic Valley Water Commission drinking water treatment plant, which serves 850,000 people in Northern New Jersey, and found a metabolized angina medicine and the mood-stabilizing carbamazepine in drinking water.

--A sex hormone was detected in San Francisco's drinking water.

--The drinking water for Washington, D.C., and surrounding areas tested positive for six pharmaceuticals.

--Three medications, including an antibiotic, were found in drinking water supplied to Tucson, Ariz.

The situation is undoubtedly worse than suggested by the positive test results in the major population centers documented by the AP.

The federal government doesn't require any testing and hasn't set safety limits for drugs in water. Of the 62 major water providers contacted, the drinking water for only 28 was tested. Among the 34 that haven't: Houston, Chicago, Miami, Baltimore, Phoenix, Boston and New York City's Department of Environmental Protection, which delivers water to 9 million people.

Some providers screen only for one or two pharmaceuticals, leaving open the possibility that others are present.

The AP's investigation also indicates that watersheds, the natural sources of most of the nation's water supply, also are contaminated. Tests were conducted in the watersheds of 35 of the 62 major providers surveyed by the AP, and pharmaceuticals were detected in 28.

Yet officials in six of those 28 metropolitan areas said they did not go on to test their drinking water — Fairfax, Va.; Montgomery County in Maryland; Omaha, Neb.; Oklahoma City; Santa Clara, Calif., and New York City.

The New York state health department and the USGS tested the source of the city's water, upstate. They found trace concentrations of heart medicine, infection fighters, estrogen, anti-convulsants, a mood stabilizer and a tranquilizer.

City water officials declined repeated requests for an interview. In a statement, they insisted that "New York City's drinking water continues to meet all federal and state regulations regarding drinking water quality in the watershed and the distribution system" — regulations that do not address trace pharmaceuticals.

In several cases, officials at municipal or regional water providers told the AP that pharmaceuticals had not been detected, but the AP obtained the results of tests conducted by independent researchers that showed otherwise. For example, water department officials in New Orleans said their water had not been tested for pharmaceuticals, but a Tulane University researcher and his students have published a study that found the pain reliever naproxen, the sex hormone estrone and the anti-cholesterol drug byproduct clofibric acid in treated drinking water.

Of the 28 major metropolitan areas where tests were performed on drinking water supplies, only Albuquerque; Austin, Texas; and Virginia Beach, Va.; said tests were negative. The drinking water in Dallas has been tested, but officials are awaiting results. Arlington, Texas, acknowledged that traces of a pharmaceutical were detected in its drinking water but cited post-9/11 security concerns in refusing to identify the drug.

The AP also contacted 52 small water providers — one in each state, and two each in Missouri and Texas — that serve communities with populations around 25,000. All but one said their drinking water had not been screened for pharmaceuticals; officials in Emporia, Kan., refused to answer AP's questions, also citing post-9/11 issues.

Rural consumers who draw water from their own wells aren't in the clear either, experts say.

The Stroud Water Research Center, in Avondale, Pa., has measured water samples from New York City's upstate watershed for caffeine, a common contaminant that scientists often look for as a possible signal for the presence of other pharmaceuticals. Though more caffeine was detected at suburban sites, researcher Anthony Aufdenkampe was struck by the relatively high levels even in less populated areas.

He suspects it escapes from failed septic tanks, maybe with other drugs. "Septic systems are essentially small treatment plants that are essentially unmanaged and therefore tend to fail," Aufdenkampe said.

Even users of bottled water and home filtration systems don't necessarily avoid exposure. Bottlers, some of which simply repackage tap water, do not typically treat or test for pharmaceuticals, according to the industry's main trade group. The same goes for the makers of home filtration systems.

Contamination is not confined to the United States. More than 100 different pharmaceuticals have been detected in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and streams throughout the world. Studies have detected pharmaceuticals in waters throughout Asia, Australia, Canada and Europe — even in Swiss lakes and the North Sea.

For example, in Canada, a study of 20 Ontario drinking water treatment plants by a national research institute found nine different drugs in water samples. Japanese health officials in December called for human health impact studies after detecting prescription drugs in drinking water at seven different sites.

In the United States, the problem isn't confined to surface waters. Pharmaceuticals also permeate aquifers deep underground, source of 40 percent of the nation's water supply. Federal scientists who drew water in 24 states from aquifers near contaminant sources such as landfills and animal feed lots found minuscule levels of hormones, antibiotics and other drugs.

Perhaps it's because Americans have been taking drugs — and flushing them unmetabolized or unused — in growing amounts. Over the past five years, the number of U.S. prescriptions rose 12 percent to a record 3.7 billion, while nonprescription drug purchases held steady around 3.3 billion, according to IMS Health and The Nielsen Co.

"People think that if they take a medication, their body absorbs it and it disappears, but of course that's not the case," said EPA scientist Christian Daughton, one of the first to draw attention to the issue of pharmaceuticals in water in the United States.

Some drugs, including widely used cholesterol fighters, tranquilizers and anti-epileptic medications, resist modern drinking water and wastewater treatment processes. Plus, the EPA says there are no sewage treatment systems specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals.

One technology, reverse osmosis, removes virtually all pharmaceutical contaminants but is very expensive for large-scale use and leaves several gallons of polluted water for every one that is made drinkable.

Another issue: There's evidence that adding chlorine, a common process in conventional drinking water treatment plants, makes some pharmaceuticals more toxic.

Human waste isn't the only source of contamination. Cattle, for example, are given ear implants that provide a slow release of trenbolone, an anabolic steroid used by some bodybuilders, which causes cattle to bulk up. But not all the trenbolone circulating in a steer is metabolized. A German study showed 10 percent of the steroid passed right through the animals.

Water sampled downstream of a Nebraska feedlot had steroid levels four times as high as the water taken upstream. Male fathead minnows living in that downstream area had low testosterone levels and small heads.

Other veterinary drugs also play a role. Pets are now treated for arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, allergies, dementia, and even obesity — sometimes with the same drugs as humans. The inflation-adjusted value of veterinary drugs rose by 8 percent, to $5.2 billion, over the past five years, according to an analysis of data from the Animal Health Institute.

Ask the pharmaceutical industry whether the contamination of water supplies is a problem, and officials will tell you no. "Based on what we now know, I would say we find there's little or no risk from pharmaceuticals in the environment to human health," said microbiologist Thomas White, a consultant for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

But at a conference last summer, Mary Buzby — director of environmental technology for drug maker Merck & Co. Inc. — said: "There's no doubt about it, pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment and there is genuine concern that these compounds, in the small concentrations that they're at, could be causing impacts to human health or to aquatic organisms."

Recent laboratory research has found that small amounts of medication have affected human embryonic kidney cells, human blood cells and human breast cancer cells. The cancer cells proliferated too quickly; the kidney cells grew too slowly; and the blood cells showed biological activity associated with inflammation.

Also, pharmaceuticals in waterways are damaging wildlife across the nation and around the globe, research shows. Notably, male fish are being feminized, creating egg yolk proteins, a process usually restricted to females. Pharmaceuticals also are affecting sentinel species at the foundation of the pyramid of life — such as earth worms in the wild and zooplankton in the laboratory, studies show.

Some scientists stress that the research is extremely limited, and there are too many unknowns. They say, though, that the documented health problems in wildlife are disconcerting.

"It brings a question to people's minds that if the fish were affected ... might there be a potential problem for humans?" EPA research biologist Vickie Wilson told the AP. "It could be that the fish are just exquisitely sensitive because of their physiology or something. We haven't gotten far enough along."

With limited research funds, said Shane Snyder, research and development project manager at the Southern Nevada Water Authority, a greater emphasis should be put on studying the effects of drugs in water.

"I think it's a shame that so much money is going into monitoring to figure out if these things are out there, and so little is being spent on human health," said Snyder. "They need to just accept that these things are everywhere — every chemical and pharmaceutical could be there. It's time for the EPA to step up to the plate and make a statement about the need to study effects, both human and environmental."

To the degree that the EPA is focused on the issue, it appears to be looking at detection. Grumbles acknowledged that just late last year the agency developed three new methods to "detect and quantify pharmaceuticals" in wastewater. "We realize that we have a limited amount of data on the concentrations," he said. "We're going to be able to learn a lot more."

While Grumbles said the EPA had analyzed 287 pharmaceuticals for possible inclusion on a draft list of candidates for regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act, he said only one, nitroglycerin, was on the list. Nitroglycerin can be used as a drug for heart problems, but the key reason it's being considered is its widespread use in making explosives.

So much is unknown. Many independent scientists are skeptical that trace concentrations will ultimately prove to be harmful to humans. Confidence about human safety is based largely on studies that poison lab animals with much higher amounts.

There's growing concern in the scientific community, meanwhile, that certain drugs — or combinations of drugs — may harm humans over decades because water, unlike most specific foods, is consumed in sizable amounts every day.

Our bodies may shrug off a relatively big one-time dose, yet suffer from a smaller amount delivered continuously over a half century, perhaps subtly stirring allergies or nerve damage. Pregnant women, the elderly and the very ill might be more sensitive.

Many concerns about chronic low-level exposure focus on certain drug classes: chemotherapy that can act as a powerful poison; hormones that can hamper reproduction or development; medicines for depression and epilepsy that can damage the brain or change behavior; antibiotics that can allow human germs to mutate into more dangerous forms; pain relievers and blood-pressure diuretics.

For several decades, federal environmental officials and nonprofit watchdog environmental groups have focused on regulated contaminants — pesticides, lead, PCBs — which are present in higher concentrations and clearly pose a health risk.

However, some experts say medications may pose a unique danger because, unlike most pollutants, they were crafted to act on the human body.

"These are chemicals that are designed to have very specific effects at very low concentrations. That's what pharmaceuticals do. So when they get out to the environment, it should not be a shock to people that they have effects," says zoologist John Sumpter at Brunel University in London, who has studied trace hormones, heart medicine and other drugs.

And while drugs are tested to be safe for humans, the timeframe is usually over a matter of months, not a lifetime. Pharmaceuticals also can produce side effects and interact with other drugs at normal medical doses. That's why — aside from therapeutic doses of fluoride injected into potable water supplies — pharmaceuticals are prescribed to people who need them, not delivered to everyone in their drinking water.

"We know we are being exposed to other people's drugs through our drinking water, and that can't be good," says Dr. David Carpenter, who directs the Institute for Health and the Environment of the State University of New York at Albany.


And people wonder why the Waukesha water makes them sick.

Sure, let's not worry about all those chemicals that can interact even in small quantities in our water. Oh, and nevermind about all the phenylketuronics and people allergic to millions of other things that they're ingesting close to eight times a day.

Why do we treat everything with drugs? A kid in middle school is sad because they don't fit in? Anti-depressants! Oh, he's got some psychotic tendencies (and his parents don't spend time with him) - anti-psychotics for him! There are some people who really need to take the medicine that they're prescribed, and it helps them a ton. But we as a fast-food, disposable, one-time travel size, get all you can while supplies last, and do whatever feels good society try to solve everything we don't like as quick as possible and with little pain. Sometimes pain is a part of life, as is sadness and other things we treat with meds.

I don't think there is really a way to fix this, so I'm probably complaining in vain. Most bottled water is just tap water in a pretty package, and definitely not guaranteed to be any cleaner. Reverse Osmosis might help, but most people won't want to spend the extra tax dollars to do that.

Maybe one day this world will have leaders that can catch up with the mistakes of the past and focus on today's issues instead of cleaning up problems from the 1970s still.