Monday, March 10, 2008

Has The World Gone Crazy? Or Have I Just Had Too Much Coffee?

--> Who's afraid of the Big Black Java Monster?? Not me, I'm more afraid of H20!

Today is shaping up to a be truly odd day.

FIRSTLY, I awoke to the news that prescription drugs were found in drinking water across the U.S. According to CNN, these are the story highlights:

-Investigation finds pharmaceuticals in drinking water of 41 million Americans - This includes 24 major metropolitan areas - from Southern California to Northern New Jersey, from Detroit, Michigan, to Louisville, Kentucky. As a selfish Manhattanite, I'm comforted by the fact that Kentucky is out. But Northern New Jersey?? Fort Lee is very close to home!!

-Concentrations are minute; utilities say water is safe - The concentrations of these pharmaceuticals are tiny, measured in quantities of parts per billion or trillion, far below the levels of a medical dose. Still, do you feel comforted knowing that there are itty bits of anti-epileptic and anti-anxiety medications floating around in the cute tumbler you bought on sale at Target (Tar-jay, sorry)???

A sex hormone was even detected in the drinking water of San Francisco, California. I'm just not going there.

-Low-level drug combinations are found to impact human cells and wildlife - While not delving into specifics, CNN states that results of recent studies have been 'alarming.'

-Bottlers, some of who repackage tap water, do not typically treat, test for drugs - A little bit of that nice mood-stabilizing carbamazepine might be floating around in your pretty bottle of designer water.

Just how the heck does this happen? As we all know, people take pills. (They like pills very much. Pills make them happy.) Their bodies absorb some of the medication, but the rest of it passes through and is flushed down the toilet. The wastewater is treated before it is discharged into reservoirs, rivers or lakes. Then, some of the water is cleansed again at drinking water treatment plants and piped to consumers. But most treatments do not remove all drug residue.

What does this mean for us? Science is unclear, and I really am at a loss. I've always had faith in the amazing New York tap water, but I am unsettled by the idea that drinking the requisite eight glasses a day will not lead to the promised glowing skin. Could it be that through the magic of a refreshing glass of testosterone water, I will instead wake up one morning with a horrifying mustache??

My advice to you is to keep a close eye on the news. And although I am a fan of pure water straight from the faucet, it might be wise to get a Brita.

SECONDLY, New York City Governor Eliot Spitzer has been linked an extensive prostitution ring that is operated from New York to Paris. According to The NY Times, our esteemed Governor, Time magazine's "Crusader of the Year" and the tabloid "Elliot Ness," was allegedly a client of the Ladies of the Night.

This is a man with three daughters. As a citizen, but moreover, as a woman, I'm pretty shocked and appalled. I know we're all human and have sexual impulses, but show some restraint! I can't help but think that a female governor would not be caught patronizing a House of Gigolos, but I am no expert.

(He should have calmed down and had a glass of water. Oh wait, maybe not.)

THIRDLY, on a more personal note, I attended a college reunion on Saturday. My good friend and I were the only single women; the others were either married or married and pregnant. My friend and I are good sports about these things and are happy for them. However, we couldn't help but be slightly bored by their endless discussions about pregnancy, delivery methods and nursing. Not to mention the cost of tuition.

To shake things up a bit, and also because I've always been curious, I inquired about whether a woman's anatomy (to put it nicely) bounces back to normal after giving birth? Is it elastic or does is just dangle (picture that!)? After all, a rush hour train has just barrelled through that wee passage! No one really answered me but I did a little internet research, and I am clearly not the only one thinking about this. Happily, conventional wisdom seems to be that everything goes back to normal, at least for most women.

FINALLY, having consumed quite the serving of iced coffee, I couldn't help but wonder (to echo Carrie Bradshaw), if my feeling of strangeness had to do with all the caffeine I had sluiced through a straw. Is it bad for you or not? According to science, it's really not the greatest thing to consume.

It has the potential to make you:

-dizzy; and

Clearly, caffeine might have contributed to my unsettled feeling. Still, today's women's health developments and the news at large were certainly a little unusual. I'll be off to the gym soon, to exercise this odd feeling away.

Moral of the Story: Exercise cures all.

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