OUR VIEW: Quality of water just as important as quantityWow, Bauer just blew the lid off the whole "Portland Prescription Pills in the Potty Pecadillo" 400 miles away (sadly, with no mention of all the illegal drugs flushed away to avoid police searches), but how is that relevant to the Palouse? A much more timely and RELEVANT editorial on water pollution would have been one that took the City of Moscow to task for its 950 violations of the federal Clean Water Act. We're still waiting for that one. And we'll keep on waiting. The Daily News can leave the toilet seat up, but they're not about to rock the boat.
Most everyone by now knows not to dump oil, antifreeze and other toxic substances down city storm drains.
Flushing expired pills down the toilet is no better.
Scientists performing tests on streambeds around Portland have discovered traces of a variety of commonly used drugs, prescription and otherwise. The list of chemical compounds includes those found in Prozac, Tagamet, Benadryl, Micatin and caffeine.
Unless the fish that live in those streambeds are depressed or stricken by acid reflux, the findings constitute a serious problem.
The most troubling revelation to date centers around endocrine-disrupting compounds found in drugs and other chemicals. Scientists have discovered that young male and female salmon from the Willamette River around Portland hold traces of an egg yolk protein usually found only in adult female fish beginning to develop eggs.
The artificial endocrine disrupters are among the suspected culprits.
"They're being exposed to something, we just don't know what it is," said Lyndal Johnson, head of reproductive toxicology at the federal Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. "It's quite interesting, and a little disturbing."
To say the least.
Pacific Northwest salmon face an arduous journey as it is, what with all the dams to navigate and the seals, seagulls and killer whales to avoid once they reach the ocean.
Such threats could pale in comparison to those posed by improperly disposed pharmaceuticals, which have the potential to cause long-term and potentially irreversible damage to salmon and aquatic life in general.
Conserving water has become a hot topic over the last several years, one Palouse residents are well aware of.
If the recent streambed studies prove anything, it's that conservation practices shouldn't be limited to use alone. Preserving the integrity of our waterways is equally important.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Flushing Away Another Editorial
This editorial from Doug Bauer appeared in yesterday's Moscow-Pullman Daily News: