How do you get rid of unused or unwanted medication? Do you flush it, put it in the garbage, or wash it down the drain to keep it out of the wrong hands? Unfortunately, depending on the chemical makeup of a medicine, inappropriate disposal might lead to water system contamination. As a result of this pollution, marine ecosystems, human health, and other things are at risk. Here’s a quick rundown of the risks of improper medicine disposal, as well as some pointers on how to properly dispose of medications.
These disposal procedures were previously recommended to avoid inadvertent usage by minors or to assist prevent opioid-seeking persons from using them. However, wastewater treatment plants and septic systems were not built with the intention of removing pharmaceutical compounds from the water. Pharmaceutical-related compounds have now been discovered in waterways across the United States, as well as in our drinking water.
Pharmaceuticals are found in 40 percent of the nation’s water supply, which is filtered through deep underground aquifers. Steroids, antibiotics, anti-depressants, painkillers, and other medications have been linked to these substances. Tossing medicines in the garbage can also be dangerous since landfill chemicals leach into surface water. What kind of damage might these substances cause to the environment? Many animals, particularly frogs and fish, have shown changes in behavior, reproduction, and growth as a result of prescription chemical leftovers, according to studies. Humans and animals are both damaged by swallowing tainted fish.
Furthermore, after being processed in wastewater treatment plants, these chemicals, as well as the components created by their breakdown, end up in lakes and rivers. They begin to alter the nutrient content and microorganisms after they are introduced into these biomes. When a microbiological degree of contamination occurs in an environment, the consequences can be far-reaching. The same water is subsequently utilized to irrigate the animal farms and agricultural fields that we rely on.
While larger contributors to the problem such as animal farms, hospitals, and nursing homes, individuals can help to prevent more damage. First and foremost, it is critical to read all of the information provided with the medicine. The EPA waste code and if the medication in question is ignitable, corrosive, poisonous, or reactive should be listed on a leaflet or booklet. The FDA’s flush list is also available online. All of this information can be used to assess if a drug is safe to throw away or flush.
If you are unsure whether a drug comes into one of these categories, take it to a drug take-back facility or your local controlled substance public disposal place. It’s also a good idea to be more cautious with your purchases. Consumers should not keep medication on hand because it may expire and go to waste.
Please check the resource below for further information on proper medication disposal.