WBEZ | pharmaceutical disposal http://www.wbez.org/tags/pharmaceutical-disposal Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Pill round-up: MWRD wants your unused medication http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-04/pill-round-mwrd-wants-your-unused-medication-106866 <p><p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/essjay/5134563753/" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/pills_0.jpg" style="height: 437px; width: 610px;" title="(Sarah Macmillan via Flickr)" /></a><br />Valium, adderall, warfarin &mdash; if it&rsquo;s common medication in the general population, it&rsquo;s a common water contaminant. <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=pharmaceuticals-in-the-water">Pharmaceutical products routinely enter the ecosystem</a>, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/14/fish-drug-contaminated-water_n_2688901.html">altering the behavior of fish</a> and tainting the drinking water supplies of 40 million Americans.</p><p>To help cut back on that contamination, The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is participating in a national drug &ldquo;take-back&rdquo; event, inviting Chicagoans to anonymously dispose of their unused and unwanted medication.</p><p>MWRD has participated in all five national drug collection events, which are organized nationally by the Drug Enforcement Administration. For the first time, MWRD will weigh Saturday&rsquo;s haul to assess the program&rsquo;s reach.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>Spring prescription drug collection date set for April 27; three drop-off sites at MWRD facilities. <a href="http://t.co/omfRjZWY16" title="http://twitter.com/MWRDGC/status/307169687496699904/photo/1">twitter.com/MWRDGC/status/&hellip;</a></p>&mdash; MWRD (@MWRDGC) <a href="https://twitter.com/MWRDGC/status/307169687496699904">February 28, 2013</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Drugs still make their way into our water, said Thomas Granato of MWRD&rsquo;s monitoring and research division, once they&rsquo;ve passed through the body. But destroying unused medication eliminates a preventable source of the pollution.</p><p>Granato said it&rsquo;s not currently possible for the District to remove pharmceutical contaminants from wastewater once they&rsquo;ve made it out into the environment. MWRD hands the medication they collect over to police, who have it incinerated.</p><p>Collection will be at the main gate of MWRD&rsquo;s three treatment facilities, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.</p><ul><li>O&rsquo;Brien Water Reclamation Plant, 3500 Howard Street, Skokie, Ill.</li><li>Stickney Water Reclamation Plant, 6001 W. Pershing Rd., Cicero, Ill.</li><li>Calumet Water Reclamation Plant, 400 E. 130<sup>th</sup> St., Chicago.</li></ul></p> Fri, 26 Apr 2013 17:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley/2013-04/pill-round-mwrd-wants-your-unused-medication-106866 EcoMyths: The big reasons not to flush old medicines down the toliet http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths/ecomyths-big-reasons-not-flush-old-medicines-down-toliet-105716 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F80812811&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP120218166375_3.jpg" style="float: left; width: 243px; height: 346px;" title="Area residents dispose of unneeded medications at the drug take back event on Feb. 18, 2012, at Walgreens and other participating locations in Palm Springs, CA. The event was sponsored by the C.A.R.E.S. Alliance, with support from the Palm Springs Police Department. (Rodrigo Pena/AP Images for The C.A.R.E.S. Alliance and Palm Springs Police Department)" />Over the years, you may have heard that the recommended way to dispose of unused pharmaceuticals is to flush them down the toilet or pour them down the drain - not anymore.&nbsp; The EPA and FDA backed off this recommendation for almost all drugs (exceptions are listed on the <a href="http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/EnsuringSafeUseofMedicine/SafeDisposalofMedicines/ucm186187.htm#Flushing_list">FDA website</a>).&nbsp; Medicines are among the thousands of &ldquo;chemicals of emerging concern&rdquo; the EPA and much of the scientific community now monitor and study.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Today for our <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths"><em>EcoMyths</em></a> segment, Jerome McDonnell and I discuss the pros and cons of flushing medicines with two experts: &nbsp;<a href="http://www.greatlakes.org/Document.Doc?id=1154">Olga Lyandres, PhD</a> of the <a href="http://www.greatlakes.org/Document.Doc?id=1154">Alliance for the Great Lakes</a>, author of the paper &ldquo;<a href="http://www.greatlakes.org/document.doc?id=1263">Keeping Great Lakes Water Safe: Priorities for Protecting against Emerging Chemical Pollutants</a>&rdquo;; and <a href="http://apps.mwrd.org/commissioners/shore.pdf">Commissioner Debra Shore</a> of the <a href="http://www.mwrd.org">Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago</a> (MWRD).&nbsp; Both had a lot to say about the dangers of and the solutions for the contamination of our drinking water by dissolved pharmaceuticals and other household products.<strong> See how we &quot;flush&quot; <a href="http://ecomythsalliance.org/2013/02/flushing-meds/">this myth</a> at the EcoMyths Alliance website!</strong></div><p><u>Why Dispose of Unused Drugs?</u></p><p>The &ldquo;chemical soup&rdquo; that Lyandres mentions is of concern because of the strange mix of chemicals that we dispose of in our waste stream.&nbsp; These chemicals show up in trace amounts in our drinking water, creating a potentially harmful cocktail of chemicals.</p><p>Source: <a href="http://www.jonbarron.org/article/aqua-horribilis">http://www.jonbarron.org/article/aqua-horribilis</a></p><p>Common chemicals in the waste stream include Prozac, Viagra, and caffeine. &nbsp;As she explained, no one understands the chemistry that occurs when these and other compounds are mixed together. Nor is much is known about the potential impacts on human health. But studies show adverse ecological impacts of <a href="http://epa.gov/endo/pubs/edspoverview/whatare.htm">endocrine disruptors</a> in our waterways, including &ldquo;intersex fish&rdquo; &ndash; that is, the male fish in the Potomac River Watershed <a href="http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/DisplayNews.cfm?NewsID=E2FDE07T-74%20D0-11D4-288DC74E7914EA01">bearing eggs</a>!</p><p><strong><u>Two really important reasons to properly dispose of unused medicines</u></strong></p><ul><li>To prevent accidental, and possibly fatal, use of the drug by people for whom the medicine was not prescribed.&nbsp;</li><li>To prevent environmental contamination in of our waterways and soils.</li></ul><p><u>What Can a Person Do To Help?</u></p><p>First, it is important to note that using expired medications is potentially harmful to your health.&nbsp; Once a medicine expires, not only can it lose its potency, but also its chemical composition may have changed.&nbsp;</p><p>Over the past two years, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has increased focus on this issue by instituting nationwide pharmaceutical &ldquo;Take Back Days&rdquo;.&nbsp; By making it easier for people to dispose of their medicines safely, the DEA has collected millions of pounds of drugs as a result of this program. The next <a href="http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html">National Drug Take Back Day</a> is April 27, 2013 and will be administered by state law enforcement.&nbsp;</p><p>Commissioner Shore points out that sewage treatment plants do not have the capabilities to clean out the thousands of chemicals that get into the waste stream from home plumbing, storm water, and other sources.&nbsp; So we have to do our part to keep chemicals out of the water system in the first place.</p><p>Both Shore and Lyandres advise people to keep an eye on the expiration dates of their prescribed and over-the-counter medications.&nbsp; When the drugs are expired or unused, there are several safe ways to dispose of medicines to keep them out of getting into your drinking water.&nbsp; Below are our experts&rsquo; recommendations on safe disposal.</p><p><u>Disposing of Medicines Safely</u></p><ul><li><u>Local Municipal and Other Agency Collection Sites</u>: Commissioner Shore recommends finding a drug collection location near your home.&nbsp; The Illinois <a href="http://www.epa.state.il.us/medication-disposal/locations/index.html">EPA lists medication disposal locations in by county</a> on its website. The MWRD also participates in the DEA Take Back days at several of its water treatment plants in Cook County.</li></ul><ul><li><u>Special Envelopes Sold at Local Stores</u>:&nbsp; Major pharmacies, such as <a href="http://info.cvscaremark.com/newsroom/press-releases/cvs-caremark-helps-launch-partnership-drugfreeorgs-national-campaign-curb-te">CVS</a> and <a href="http://www.walgreens.com/topic/sr/sr_community_safe_medication_disposal.jsp">Walgreens</a>, sell specially designed envelopes for mailing used medicines to safe disposal facilities.</li></ul><ul><li><u>Trash it as a Last Resort</u>:&nbsp; If there are no local medicine disposal alternatives, the FDA recommends throwing away old medicine in a plastic bag after mixing it with kitty litter or coffee grounds.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; This is not the best option, since the bag goes into a landfill. There is a chance that eventually the package could leak and the drugs leech into groundwater. However, disposing expired medications in the trash is still better than flushing them down the toilet.</li></ul></p> Mon, 25 Feb 2013 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths/ecomyths-big-reasons-not-flush-old-medicines-down-toliet-105716