Microsoft word - pharmaceutical information & disposal fact sheet.docx
DOWN THE DRAIN!
How do pharmaceuticals enter the environment?
While some pharmaceuticals enter the environment via normal human and
livestock excretion into sewer systems or waterways, much enters the environment via direct disposal, such as having been flushed down the toilet or poured down the drain.
Isn’t excretion responsible for more pharmaceuticals entering the environment
than improper disposal?
Pharmaceuticals enter the environment through both excretion and disposal. The
portion that we can control right now is improper disposal.
Pharmaceuticals improperly disposed of down the drain have not been degraded
at all by the body and may be more potent.
Why don’t wastewater treatment plants improve treatment to remove
While treatment does remove and reduce some types of pharmaceuticals,
wastewater plants are designed to treat human and biological waste, not complex pharmaceutical chemicals. Because some aquatic species have shown sensitivity to the low levels of medications that do pass through treatment plants, the more medication we can prevent from going down the drain, the better.
Alternative treatment may have other environmental consequences. For
example, reverse osmosis results in a brine of contaminants that must be properly disposed of as well. This type of treatment also requires enormous amounts of energy, which could also mean more greenhouse gases emitted into the environment.
Adding more sophisticated treatment, like ozone or reverse osmosis is always
more expensive than prevention. For example, advanced treatment is extremely expensive and requires enormous amounts of energy, costing communities millions of dollars and significantly increasing utility rates.
Do pharmaceuticals impact water quality?
Several studies have shown that exposure to certain pharmaceuticals results in
abnormal development and reproduction in fish and other wildlife, even at very low levels.
o The antidepressant Fluoxetine delayed development of young Western
o Increased numbers of male fish have been associated with pharmaceuticals
With the advance of technology and testing, some waterways that supply
drinking water have been reported to have trace levels of pharmaceuticals.
What should I do with unwanted or expired medication?
Help protect people, pets and the environment by taking prescriptions as
directed, and then properly disposing of your unused portions.
o Do not pour medications down the drain or flush them down the toilet.
o Avoid placing medications in garbage cans where they can be ingested by
children or pets, or scatter and pollute the soil and groundwater at the landfill.
www.BayWise.org for updated information on local disposal
Remember: No Drugs Down the Drain Please!
MATERIAL SAFETY DATA SHEET - NO. M10 1. CHEMICAL PRODUCT AND COMPANY IDENTIFICATION Beryllium Transportation Emergency Emergency 2. COMPOSITION/INFORMATION ON INGREDIENTS CHEMICAL COMPOSITION (Percent by Weight) Hazard Communication regulations of the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration apply to this product. NOTE: As used in this Material Safe
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