Friday, November 13, 2009

Keep our Groundwater Medication Free

I received an email regarding the environmental concern about flushing medicines down the toilet. This has been shown to be a big environmental problem. There are many local, state, and national organizations trying to get the word out so that people DO NOT put medicines in our water resources. The sewage treatment plants do not treat for these chemicals and they basically end up directly into our streams and groundwater, causing a lot of ecological problems.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind regarding proper disposal of medications.

1) DO NOT FLUSH unused medications and DO NOT POUR them down a sink or drain.

2) Be proactive and dispose of unused medication in household trash. When discarding unused medications, ensure you protect children and pets from potentially negative effects:
a) Pour medication into a sealable plastic bag. If medication is a solid pill, liquid capsule, etc.) crush it or add water to dissolve it.
b) Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds (or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets and children to eat) to the plastic bag.
c) Seal the plastic bag and put it in the trash.
d) Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription
label) from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them into the trash.

3) Check for approved State and local collection programs. Another option is to check for approved state and local collection alternatives such as community based household hazardous waste collection programs. In certain states, you may be able to take your unused medications to your community pharmacy or other location for

For more information, see this informative publication. Smart Disposal Publication

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