[ RadSafe ] The solution to pollution

Jerry Cohen jjc105 at yahoo.com
Mon Aug 22 16:05:06 CDT 2011

    Many years ago, when I began to work in the environmental health field, 
there existed a guideline to the effect, "The solution to pollution is 
dilution". In other words, if it could be assured that disposal of any harmful 
agent could not result in environmental concentrations above designated 
standards, the disposal method could be considered acceptable. Over time, this 
approach had apparently been superceded by the "Any is too much" philosophy 
where the detectible presence of anything harmful is not acceptable. The ALARA 
principle in radiation safety is a manifestation of this type of thinking.
    Now, it seems that we have evolved to the next level. I recently noted a 
warning from our state Health Dept. to the effect that any disposal of outdated 
medications into the sewage system is forbidden. I've tried to imagine a set of 
conditions where this practice might conceivably result in some harmful effect, 
but I am stumped. When I inquired about the rational, I learned the reason for 
this prohibition is because the practice is illegal. OK, ---I give  up! Maybe 
someone on radsafe has a reasonable explanation.
Jerry Cohen

More information about the RadSafe mailing list