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What is going down the drain?
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First, let me make it clear that I am not a Dr. Oz groupie. I really like his books and his television show, but those women who attend his shows act like he is a rock star. Now, I do think he is extremely knowledgeable. He provides valuable information to help people make healthier lifestyle choices. This week, he had a segment called “Flushed Away” that we all need to hear. Here is a summary in case you missed it:
There’s a new threat to the environment much closer to home — pharmaceutical and personal care product pollution. Experts are increasingly worried that marine life across America is showing us the harm it is doing to our planet and to ourselves.
What’s happening to the environment? In river basins around the country, the United States Geological Survey has found fish with both female and male sex organs. Intersex frogs are also popping up all over. And experts have found evidence of chemicals called endocrine disruptors in the country’s water supplies.
These chemicals alter the actions of hormones in our bodies, which can hurt us in two ways. First, they can block our hormones from acting as they normally would, and, secondly, they can trigger effects that may include early onset puberty in adolescents. Breast cancer rates are increasing, girls are entering puberty earlier, sperm counts and testosterone levels are falling.
Though the evidence is not definitive, experts fear that products we are introducing into our environment could be to blame, and they are urging us to decrease the use of certain chemicals. Here’s what to look for:
You may have heard about bisphenol-A, the chemical used to make hard plastics, line cans and create carbonless receipts. It’s proven to raise the risk of breast cancer in rats and the FDA has raised an alarm about the potential harm BPA can cause. Ninety-three percent of us have BPA in our bodies. We live with it and we excrete it when we go to the bathroom, sending the chemical into the environment.
Also, the medication we take ends up in our water supply in one of two ways. We secrete it when we use the restroom, which we can’t control, but many of us also flush unused medication down the toilet. In 2008, the Associated Press reported that dozens of pharmaceuticals end up in our water supplies, and eventually, in our tap water.
 What you can do:
Drink water from stainless steel bottles
Avoid plastics with the numbers 3, 6 and 7 on the bottom
Never heat plastic in the microwave
Choose frozen and fresh produce over canned
Use BPA-free baby bottles
Avoid any products that contain fragrances
Stay away from parabens
Choose products that are paraben- and phthalate-free
Dispose of leftover medication by throwing it in the trash with coffee grinds or cat litter, return the unused portion to your pharmacy or go online to find a hazardous waste disposal facility.
Thanks, Dr Oz! We all need to heed this advice. Our waterways and environment — not to mention our health — depend on it.

Upcoming KLB events:
• April 10 and May 1: Neighborhoods and challenge cleanups
• April 17,  8:30  a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Cities of Gum Branch, Flemington, Midway and Walthourville
• April 22, 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m.: Earth Day celebration, “The Green Scene”
• April 24, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: City of Hinesville cleanup
• May 15, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.: Recycle it! Fair for electronics and HHW items.

For more information, call 880-4888 or e-mail
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