[ RadSafe ] The solution to pollution

Colette Tremblay Colette.Tremblay at ssp.ulaval.ca
Tue Aug 23 08:44:46 CDT 2011

I understand that fish and amphibians are affected by the medications in water, since they actually live in the water. Reproductive anomalies have been observed.


Colette Tremblay
Spécialiste en radioprotection
Service de sécurité et prévention
poste 2893

-----Message d'origine-----
De : radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] De la part de Jerry Cohen
Envoyé : 22 août 2011 17:05
À : The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Objet : Re: [ RadSafe ] The solution to pollution

    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approach had apparently been superceded by the "Any is too much" philosophy 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 to the effect that any disposal of outdated 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
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