Advisory of the Day
MONTREAL, QC: PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS IN SEWAGE? QC
This story is brought to you in part by Idenergie
As we saw in yesterday's article (MONTREAL HOSPITAL WATER: CLEAN BY CITY'S STANDARDS), the legislation does not require special treatment or purification of human dejections before being fed back to the sewer system. Same rules apply for institutional establishments as for homeowners.
As with food, nutriments and liquids, once consumed orally, drugs go thru the digestive system and are fragmented in the digestive track so the body can absorb it thru microscopic pores in the intestinal wall. The payload is then delivered thru the bloodstream to accomplish it's intended use. As with food, after it goes thru this process, whatever is left (bi-products or unused parts still in the colon) comes out as feces, and after the bloodstream is filtered thru the kidneys, comes out as urine. The dejections then goes down the toilet and back to the city's waste water system
Today we spoke to Doctorate in Pharmacology Nicolas Pinto who answered a few questions about pharmaceutical drugs and human dejections. When asked what type of drugs left residues in feces and urine he kindly answered: "Well, in fact the majority of drugs if not all, leave some sort of bi-products in the human dejections. Those bi-products are called metabolites, they are small molecules leftover after they are transformed by the metabolism." Mr Pinto continued with an example: "If we take for instance the contraceptive pills largely used by women to prevent pregnancy, their metabolites in the urine and feces contains hormones among other things." When asked about mostly used drugs like pain killers, anti-depressants and antibiotics, they all have a range of metabolites, each with some form of active molecule that could possibly vary greatly from the original medication. This metabolite cocktail is part of what can be found in the septic sewer system
What about industrial? The city's regulation cites that past a certain volume of waste water, industrial citizens are required to filter particles in the waste water (especially metal) and pay a royalty depending on the volume of waste water injected in the system in order to help the city cover the treatment costs. We tried to contact Bombardier and Molson-Coors thru their media relations department, but had nothing returned by time of publication
We also contacted Pfizer Canada (one of the most prominent drug manufacturers in the world) thru their media department. We left a 24 hour window to answer 9 questions before deadline. We got a partial answer by Mr Vincent Lamoureux, Director of Corporate Affairs, 50 minutes after sending our request, stating they could not answer within the timeframe allowed before deadline, with 23 hours remaining. So we basically asked one more time, insisting that a person in charge of equipment maintenance could probably answer if yes or no, there were water filtration or purification systems to treat waste water from their facilities or if they had a statement. Otherwise we would have to state it as a refusal to collaborate
Here is the answer we got: "Your statement would not be accurate since we do not refuse to collaborate. For any media inquiry, we have a process to follow in order to gather accurate information and seek required approvals. In this particular case, your questions are outside of the usual pharmaceutical themes of questioning that we receive and therefore, we require more time to reach out to subject matter experts within the Company and develop an appropriate answer." 4 hours and 20 minutes remained
Tomorrow in part 5 of our 5 part investigation on Montreal's water from tap to waste we take a look at the city's sewer system and waste water management, is it enough?..
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