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While pharmaceutical careers can be the source of good money for some, they are a bane to environmentalists watching the national and international waterways. It is a growing and alarming problem worldwide. The President’s Cancer Panel’s yearly report focused on pollutants that increase cancer risk and among those toxins from pharmaceutical drugs is a dire problem.  Like heavy metals, these toxins gather in the flesh of fish over time, polluting various species and the water supply itself. The danger is in the soil, food chain, and the water.

It is alarming to note that there are no laws in existence to protect the public from these chemicals in the water. There is no mandate that they be tested for or filtered out. Many simply do not know the hazard. Fact of the matter is that we do not know what the long term impacts of these toxins are and yet they are considered a cancer risk. Right now as many as 40 to 50 million Americans are consuming water that is polluted with these chemicals which range from antidepressants to blood pressure medications, from anticonvulsants to hormones, from chemotherapy drugs to antibiotics.  As many as eighty percent of streams and natural watercourses are also polluted.

It is everyone’s problem, not just those in pharmaceutical careers. With the standard disposal method of flushing old pills down the drain, it is no wonder that our water is filled with a dangerous chemical cocktail of drugs. Plus human waste caries these chemicals too.  Since none of this is filtered out of the water, it ends up remaining there. With the consumer, the medical profession, and the companies themselves all adding chemicals to the water… there is hardly no place left that is not touched by the problem.

With mounting scientific evidence countering the claim that these chemicals pose no health risk, one has to wonder how ethical pharmaceutical careers are. When chemicals from drugs are proven to disrupt cell function in the lab, like the 2006 Italian study from the University of Insubria, one has to wonder exactly what those chemicals are doing over the long term.  Already exposure to these chemicals is causing reproductive harm and organ failure in various species of fish. Scientist across the globe are indicating that growth, reproductive, and behavioral changes are occurring not just in fish and food chain base species, but in more advanced wildlife too.

When looking for a career one should keep in mind the ethical concerns that abound with pharmaceutical careers. It is everyone’s future, and the future of the planet.  If new drugs are created that are ‘green’ and degrade into harmless chemicals then eventually the problem will get better. In the mean time we must revise laws and do what we can to stop the contamination of these toxins in the water before we lose even more species.  If these drugs are causing reproductive harm in fish, organ failure in vultures, behavior changes in wildlife – what are they doing to us?

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