SEATTLE - With each drip from the IV bag, Dr. Molly Linton knows it is the delivery system for her her best chance to beat the cancer attacking her body.
"As a naturepath, I'm doing chemotherapy because there's nothing in my bag that would work," said Linton as she took her second dose of powerful cancer fighting drugs.
She was forced to suspend her thriving practice to concentrate on her breast cancer. The battle is consuming nearly every moment of her busy life.
But Linton has begun a personal campaign to get answers about the drugs she and a growing number of U.S. residents are using to fight cancer. She is convinced cancer is linked to environmental factors. She worries the waste stream is laden with a man-made chemical stew that passes through our homes, vehicles and our bodies. And now she worries that some of the most powerful of those chemicals, her cancer drugs, pass through her body largely unchanged and into the sewer lines to add to the stew.
"Sampling over the last decade have shown there are identifiable amounts of various pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the general environment," said University of Washington Researcher John Kissel.
He agrees with Linton that even the most modern waste water treatment facilities are not designed to remove the chemicals found in the drugs and personal care products we have been using for decades and cancer drugs would be no exception.
Kissel said there is not enough testing of waste water effluent to know the extent of the problem and its possible affects on human and environmental health.
With so many scientists concerned some of our unexplained and growing maladies such as Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's are products of continued long term exposure to chemicals, both Linton and Kissel would like to see more studies.
Linton points out the nurses preparing her treatment have to use protective clothing to prevent being burned or inhaling fumes from the drugs.
And as she leans back to accept the flow she knows has the best chance of saving her life, she can't help worrying about those nurses and everyone else downstream.