Outsourcing Drug Wastes to Developing World?

By | February 4, 2009

Living near extremely contaminated streams is very common in urban India.  Water tested near Hyderabad contains some of the highest environmental drug levels known.I have seen several in or around Hyderabad where I grew up.  It did not strike me until recently, that these streams are a by product of cheap generics we purchase here in the US.  Most of these generics come from countries like India where, the environmental agencies don’t have the clout or resources to enforce the laws.  The more we purchase these drugs, the more are imported from the developing world, i.e., the more of these end up in natural streams.

A recent study by several Swedish researchers confirms the presence of toxic levels of common antibiotics in effluent discharged into natural streams in Patancheru (a suburb of Hyderabad). They estimated that Cipro in the effluent amounted to about 45 kg/day (~45,000 daily doses)!

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