Today’s essential declamation is scientifically sound but really meant to piss off (visual pun intended) the environmentalists so I can add another special interest group to my hate mail. I generally despise most environmentalists as a general population. I know there are lots of committed people that have the right thing in mind and do good things but there are many (most?) that have a hidden agenda: socialism. Now I actually don’t have a problem with economic socialism. Well let me rephrase that, I’m not really for redistribution of wealth per se, but I do think that whatever needs to happen to ensure basic human rights, health care, a living wage, care for children, care for the elderly, end to starvation, and a decent education (through college) for all needs to happen. If this entails a redistribution of wealth in the process, so be it. There are too few with too much and too many with not enough.
What I really hate is hidden agendas. The environmentalists propose things that are not in the national or majority interests of this country. In many cases these are insidious attempts to redistribute wealth without saying so and pushing us back to a “simpler time.” They have little science to back their overtly stated agenda.
The entire carbon emission policy proposals for the US are insignificant when you look at the expolisive economic growth that is happening globally? Would you care about greenhouse gasses if you had nothing to eat or live in a rat hole? I don’t think so. What about the countries that are exempt, what if these areas start to grow dramatically (assuming they get rid of the corruption that is the real millstone around their necks)? Why are they exempt in the first place?
Now I’ll be the first one to admit that greenhouse gasses and global warming are real problems, but I claim the main thrust behind the current political (yes, mainly political, not scientific) debate about global warming in the US by most environmentalists and academia is really a subterfuge to institute socialism in the US without saying so. The current global environmental policy will do almost nothing to alleviate the greenhouse gas problem except maybe delay the inevitable a few years because global politics will not allow a real solution to the problem in the foreseeable future.
But I digress… My main point here was to point out some bad science in a particular case and show how academia and the media set out to, intentionally in the first case, and intentionally and through ignorance in the second case, sow misinformation about the problem from an environments standpoint.
Now there is no doubt (but is there?) that incineration of unused and expired medication is a preferred method for disposal over land fill or just flushing them down the toilet. But wait a minute, what about the greenhouse gasses incineration creates. Hmmm, never thought about that one did you?
What about landfills, they are lined with an impermeable membrane. The medicine will still be there, and not in your groundwater, for hundreds of years, in which time they will be reduced to harmless components anyway. The modern scientific methods for landfills pose no problem to the atmosphere or groundwater. An insignificant amount of land in the US is taken up by landfills. The problem with landfills is location; nobody wants a landfill in their backyard, city, county, or state. These arguments, except for a few of the larger cities, is just bad science and political pandering. States that ban garbage crossing their borders into their states are just scientifically foolish and mainly based on getting somebody reelected. There is plenty of safe and unpopulated land in the US for landfills and recycling is increasingly taking some of the pressure off the need for more.
So now we are down to flush ’em. Here is where some particularly bad science comes into play. Now nobody in the US knows jack shit about science, math, or statistics (I blame the school system), and the media, since they were all journalism or english majors, are particularly ignorant. That’s the first part of the problem.
The second part of the problem is the scientific, and to a greater extent, the environmental movement, propagates these insidious lies. Lets look at some of the things that are bandied about by the media and environmentalists on this “problem:”
“We are now able to find detectible amounts of pharmaceuticals in rivers and lakes. These are steadily increasing.”
“Pharmaceuticals found in the water system may be having an effect on human health and the environment.”
Well, the first sentence in first statement is actually technically true. But the devil is always in the details. What they haven’t told you is why this is true. Detection methods have improved at least 1000 fold in the last 50 years. What was previously undetectable has become detectible, but in such small amounts to almost surely have no measurable effect on the environment or treated waste water outflow. In actual fact nobody has proven scientifically that these trace amounts of pharmaceuticals have any effect on the environment or human health. Can I see Chicken Little comin’?
The second sentence is just patently false. Nobody could detect the amount of Prozac in the water 30 years ago, so the time frame for seeing an increase is too short and the current data is within a statistical error range that no conclusions can be drawn from the data at all, other than trace amounts are there. I’m pretty sure I see Chicken Little on the bus now.
Let’s look at the final statement. Again, the devil is in the details. See that word I highlighted, may. Nobody knows. Nobody, literally nobody, has shown a scientifically valid effect on anything, not people, not fish, not plants, nothing. It is pure speculation. Read the research. The claims are based strictly on the increased use of pharmaceuticals in general, and a currently unsupportable conclusion. No valid research exists. I hear Chicken Little knockin’ at the door.
Remember the scientifically almost certain problem with greenhouse gasses emitted by incineration that I pointed out oh so long ago? A process dependent on fossil fuels.
So I say flush ’em. Most of us have 1-gallon or less toilets now so the amount of water used is small. Once the drugs hit the sewer system they are diluted probably at least a thousand times more, waste treatment probably dilutes it at least 10,000 times more. Some of the drugs are still going to be destroyed by the waste treatment process and just exposure to sunlight and oxygen. And when it all meets the mighty Mississippi, well you could calculate it but you’re going to need a lot more zeroes. Oh and sunlight, heat, and oxygen are going to get some more now. See if all you math illiterates can handle it? Oh and those pills you flushed, each only contained 50 milligrams of active ingredient anyway (0.050 grams). We are talking pharmacologically insignificant amounts in groundwater, streams, lakes, and drinking water, almost on the level of homeopathic remedies (and if you think homeopathic remedies work, get that calculator out again to calculate those dilutions and bone up on your science).
Oh and the amount secreted in urine, don’t get me started. How would we eliminate that anyway, ban pharmaceuticals? That’s what the hippie environmentalists, the back to the log cabin, environmentalists really want?
So I say again, flush ’em. Crap on them, pee on them, and then give the ol’ handle a good jerk or two!