Sun Dec 11, 2011, 07:36 AM
eridani (51,809 posts)
WA state medicine return program--keep it out of our water!
Washington’s new medicine return program helps keep waterways clean
Have you ever opened your (or a loved one’s) medicine cabinet and wondered what to do with the myriad bottles of expired or leftover medications? The obvious options are to toss them, flush them, or leave them in the cabinet to deal with later. But all of these options have problems. Fortunately, now in Washington there’s a better way, thanks to a new medicine return pilot program.
What’s wrong with flushing?Throwing prescription medicines in the garbage, or leaving them in the cabinet, carries the risk they get into the wrong hands, leading to drug abuse, accidental poisoning, and death. So the conventional wisdom has been to flush left over medicine. But it turns out there’s a nasty side effect to flushing drugs: they’re showing up in our waterways, affecting our fish and wildlife, and maybe us as well.
A study by the United States Geological Survey showed prescription drug chemicals in 80 percent of the streams surveyed across the country. They get there when medications are flushed, put in the garbage, and passed through our bodies. Conventional wastewater facilities aren’t designed to eliminate these compounds, which include endocrine disruptors, hormones, narcotics, and antibiotics. A growing body of evidence shows that these contaminants are disrupting basic life functions like reproduction and development, affecting the systems of hundreds of aquatic animals and plants. For species that are already struggling, exposure to these chemicals is another nail in the coffin.
In response to this growing problem, several government agencies, private pharmacies, and the non-profit Washington Citizens for Resource Conservation have partnered to create a pilot Medicine Return program in Washington State. The program enables residents to drop off their unwanted medicines (including prescription, OTC, ointments, vitamins, etc.) in secure bins at participating pharmacies across the state, including Group Health and later this year, Bartell Drugs. For a complete list of return locations and accepted medicines see www.MedicineReturn.com.
State of Washington link from Kennah, 11/2010
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