But medications are also seen in Los Angeles County's water supplies. This is because of the region's aggressive efforts to turn treated sewage into drinking water. About half a trillion gallons of sewage from three treatment plants supply drinking water for 4 million people.
The sewage water from Southern California is recycled removing bacteria and nitrogen. But recently water officials found medications in small amounts such as the prescription drugs to treat depression, seizures, high cholesterol, anxiety, infections, inflammation and pain.
Their amounts were compared to that of a few drops in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Scientists feel that there is no harm for the humans but it might cause various health hazards over a period of time. But the fear of polluting the ecosystem of the aquatic body is evident. It affects the fish, frogs and other creatures that spend their entire lives in waterways exposed to drugs.
Christian Daughton, chief of environmental chemistry at the EPA's National Exposure Research Laboratory branch in Las Vegas, said that small of these medications over a period of time would result in declining reproduction and survival rates.
In laboratory tests, conducted by ecotoxicologist Marsha Black at the University of Georgia, Prozac a drug has slowed down growth and metamorphosis, making tadpoles more vulnerable to predators. The drug also causes lethargy and slows reproduction in fish and reduces reproductive rates in crustaceans and shellfish.
In British rivers, Nevada's Lake Mead, the Potomac River and elsewhere, male fish have developed female ovarian tissues due to the exposure to birth-control estrogens and natural hormone excretions in treated sewage.
In conclusion to prevent or reduce such activities the Los Angeles and Orange counties will begin distributing cards to pharmacies in March advising customers not to flush down any medications but to wrap them and put them in the trash.