Did you know that water treatment plants typically do not filter pharmaceuticals out of water? Endocrine distruptors, anti-depressants and other pharmaceuticals enter our waterways from a variety of sources, including the laundry, bathing water and wastewater of those who take the prescription medications. While there’s not much you can do about pharmaceutical contamination from these sources, you can do the next best thing by taking only those medications that are medically necessary, and making sure that any unused medications are disposed of responsibly.
In order to help with responsible drug disposal, the US Department of Justice is offering a National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 28th. This website will help you find a collection site near you. Can’t make it? Follow these tips for responsible disposal that keeps prescription drugs out of the hands of children and pets, while keeping waterways safe.
- Follow instructions on the prescription bottle for responsible disposal.
- Find out if your local police station or pharmacy participates in ongoing take-back programs.
- If there are no disposal instructions, and no take-back programs are available, remove medications from their bottle and mix them with something unpalatable, such as coffee grounds. Seal this mixture in a bag, then dispose of in the trash.
- In most cases you should not flush unused medications down the toilet or sink. However, for this list of controlled medications, the FDA has determined that flushing is the only safe method of disposal.