Your toilet bowl may the time-honored venue for dumping
expired or unused drugs, but your local waterways could
suffer for it. As ground water can be affected by everything
put into the ground, flushing medications is not the recommended
means for disposal.
U.S. geological Survey has been studying
the nation’s waterway for years and an exhaustive
study in 2002 detected trace levels of chemicals commonly
found in prescription drugs in 80 percent of the streams
Now under pressure from researchers
who suspect hormones and anti-depressants may be responsible
for harming fish. The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency is on the march to gauge the health and environmental
impact of medications and pharmaceuticals in water.
What should you do with your
In the last year, says EPA press Officer Suzanne Ackerman,
the agency has made some “ground breaking” advances
and is testing methods that may be effective in removing
pharmaceuticals from the water. The going is slow. She contends
but “it is happening”
There are no government guidelines. So pharmaceutical experts
1. Find out if your local pharmacies take back medication.
Some have occasional days designated for such drop offs.
2. Check to locate your community household hazardous waste
3. Go to www.epa.gov/epahome/state.htm
for local numbers.
If you must turn to your garbage can, take these
1. Keep the medications in its original container. Remove
your name for security purposes.
2. Add a small amount of water to pills, or an absorbent
material like flour to liquid medications to discourage
their use to assist in dissolving them.
Put the containers in a paper bag or a yogurt container
to conceal them, then toss as close to your trash pickup
time as possible.
This article appeared in the Daytona Beach News Journal
I-4-07 in the AARP bulletin.