Monday, August 09, 2004

Prozac in the Drinking Water!

Supposedly Britain's drinking water now has measurable traces of the antidepressant medication Prozac. Environmentalists are concerned about its possible reproductive effects on the unsuspecting population, but others argue that the amounts are not large enough to cause concern:

The Observer said that a report by the government's environment watchdog found Prozac was building up in river systems and groundwater used for drinking supplies.
The exact quantity of Prozac in the drinking water was unknown, but the Environment Agency's report concluded Prozac could be potentially toxic in the water table.
Experts say that Prozac finds its way into rivers and water systems from treated sewage water, and some believe the drugs could affect reproductive ability. A spokesman for the Drinking Water Inspectorate said Prozac was likely to be found in a considerably watered down form that was unlikely to pose a health risk.
"It is extremely unlikely that there is a risk, as such drugs are excreted in very low concentrations," the spokesman said. "Advanced treatment processes installed for pesticide removal are effective in removing drug residues."

Drugs like Prozac are not supposed to work on people who are not depressed, so Prozac in the drinking water would not cause a nation of people on a permanent high. Still, it says something about the need for antidepressants that traces of their use can be spotted in the water system. This makes me wonder about the traces of all sorts of other things we use or consume: pesticides, paint removers and household cleaners. Maybe even conservative KoolAid. Prozac makes for better news, of course.