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Disposal of Unused Medication

Part 2

medication disposal large
Public health officials were shocked in 2018 by the results of water quality studies. They revealed that traces of pharmaceuticals in the water were affecting over 45 million Americans. Many local municipalities weren’t even testing for this. As a result of these findings, there were calls for better testing and public education about disposing of medications safely.

Improper disposal of pharmaceuticals doesn’t only affect public health but the health of the environment too. Many households flush unused medication down the toilet from where they end up in the water system. The FDA lists just 13 medications that may be disposed of in this manner.

Other households dispose of old medication in the regular trash. From here it could be misused by other people, ingested by children or animals, or leach into the groundwater from the landfill. In fact, when 22 landfill sites were tested, it was found that their leached water contained many different pharmaceutical residues. These residues have serious effects, ranging from behavior changes in wildlife, damage to coral reefs and reproductive problems in fish.

It’s important that local government, health officials and others educate the public and make safe, easy and affordable medication disposal options available.