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Month: August 2012

The Leftover Medicine Shoppe

Working in the pharmaceutical field for most of my life, I am very aware of the leftover medications that are disposed of as waste, directly and indirectly. The average consumer has no idea of what this means to our environment and ultimately our health.  Not only is medication discarded that is not used or needed into the trash, but also leaked into the environment through natural waste, namely feces and urine.  It is simple just to throw unused bottles of pills into the trash, and most people are too busy to worry about it.

The impact of drug disposal affects our wildlife, pets and people.  The chemicals in drugs end up in our waterways because so many of us simply flush them down the toilet.  The bypass of drugs naturally is also presented into the environment via the same route.  The U.S. Geological Services has reported that prescriptions and non-prescription drugs have been detected in water samples that is collected from streams considered susceptible to contamination from various waste water sources such as those downstream from intense urbanization or livestock.  The risk is potential also to aquatic organisms due to exposure.  People and wildlife are directly or indirectly affected by these toxic chemicals released into our environment regularly.

There is a responsible way to dispose of medications, perhaps  it will take a little extra effort on our part, but well worth it in the long run.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, The American Pharmacists Association, and The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America have created The SmartRxT Disposal Campaign to educate consumers on how to safely dispose of medications. Some simple suggestions as to following the specific disposal directions on the drug label or patient information that is included with the medication. Taking advantage of community take-back drug programs and there is even a National Prescription Drug Take Back Days throughout the United States.  One day hopefully everyone will be on the same page when it comes to disposal of medications and how we can keep ourselves and our environment unharmed and healthy.

Sweet As Honey

I recently purchased some natural organic honey from a fruit and vegetable stand on the side of the road.  It was so delicious, but made gave me the thought about the safety of honey and how does it and the bees affect our environment.  If the honey bees travel from flower to flower to produce the honey, what about the pesticides that are used for plants and flowers in the first place.  Honey bees actually predigest the nectar that they take from the the flowers in their bellies before they return with it back to the hives.  They then do their magic with it to create the honey.  The honey we eat is flower nectar that the bees have collected, regurgitated, and dehydrated to enhance its nutritional properties.

One third of all foods Americans eat are pollinated by bees directly.   Indirect foods also depend on bee pollination.  Our food chain would be severely compromised without bees.  Our bees are dying.  Its called Colony Collapse Disorder, it  is toxins and chemicals in the environment, according to scientists data that is killing our bees.  Bee colonies that are affected by (CCD)  can appear healthy as little as three weeks prior to collapse, but then the adult bees disappear from the colonies.  Also called "disappearing disease".  This leaves behind a box full of honey, pollen, capped brood, a queen, and perhaps a few worker bees.

The causes of CCD is currently under investigation, but there is a definite link with toxic chemicals and our honey bees being depopulated.  Chemicals used to control bee maladies have a variety of sub lethal effects on all honey bees; including workers, queens and drones.  Even when the chemicals were being used with every proper management.  In addition to being exposed to toxins while foraging, honey bees are also susceptible to toxins by drinking  water contaminated with chemical runoff, encountering various household or commercial chemicals outside the hive, or via direct inhalation.  And last but not least, there are undiscovered, unidentified, or recently introduced pests and/or pathogens that can be possible causes of CCD.

Honey bees are biological indicators, their status reflects the general health of the environment.  The rapid loss of colonies initiated by CCD around the world and in the U.S. is alarming because the loss of bees may signal a decline the health of the planet.  There is a possibility that the honey bee losses may be a symptom of a much greater envrionmental problem.  Let us all work together to treat our honey bees just as sweet as the treat the provide to us.  Honey...




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