Taking care of our own:
Don't flush - Wrap & Trash
by Matthew Walter, MPH, Environmental Health and Safety representative, Safety Management Services
Proper disposal of household pharmaceuticals
Have you ever asked yourself: How should I dispose of expired or unused pharmaceuticals no longer needed within my home? Here at Safety Management Services, we are hearing this question more and more by individuals concerned with environmental safety. The answer used to be as simple as "flush it down the toilet or pour it down the drain." But that response no longer applies and, in fact, would probably make an environmental health professional a little green around the gills.
Recent findings reported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency say that disposing unwanted pharmaceuticals directly into our water systems (either by flushing or drain disposal) is having an unhealthy impact on our waterways and aquatic life. Even though the amounts of pharmaceuticals found vary from location to location and the contamination is only in trace amounts, we need to challenge ourselves to make changes to the way we dispose of our household medications now - before the problem gets worse.
The following are some guidelines:
Some communities offer pharmaceutical take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. These programs are a convenient and safe way to dispose of old meds.