Ten years ago, Becca Kassel’s project hit the TV and news headlines because her idea won then-Senator Joe Simitian’s Ought-to-be-a-law Contest. Outraged by pharmaceutical drugs in our drinking water, she was determined to make drug companies take back unused meds to properly incinerate them. Becca was appalled by the deformities she saw in fish as she researched the negative effects of drugs in our waterways and oceans. Becca joined Senator Simitian in Sacramento to create a law to force pharmaceutical companies to take responsibility for the take-back program. Check out her project! As it turned out, the pharmaceutical lobby was too powerful and succeeded in defeating the bill.
When we flush our meds down the toilet or they end up at the landfill, these drugs end up in our water. Becca talked with the water treatment plants to find out that they DO NOT TEST or REMOVE DRUGS from our WATER! That’s right. They don’t have the funds to pay for the expensive tests and equipment to deal with drugs in our water. So, we’re drinking cocktails of hormones and antidepressants!
Researchers are finding intersex development in fish and amphibians, and antidepressants in the brain tissue of fish downstream of wastewater treatment plants. Worried about drugs in our water? You should be. High concentrations of drugs are found in waterways after music festivals and social events.
But pharmaceutical companies are profit driven – even at the cost of the well being of their very customers that they claim to be helping. Today, my husband Rob has been working to implement a local law requiring pharmaceutical companies to develop and finance take-back programs for unwanted and expired medications. They’ve resisted the plan and have millions of dollars to avoid their responsibility.
Considering that 70% of American take prescription medications, which calculates to almost $310 BILLION in sales per year, the pharmaceutical companies should do their part to keep the drugs out of our water. Don’t throw out your expired or left-over meds. Take them to a local drop-off location to ensure that they don’t end up in our drinking water. Visit www.dontrushtoflush.org.