What is the proper way to dispose of medicine that you no longer need or want? Do you flush it, throw it away, or wash it down the drain to keep it out of the wrong hands? Unfortunately, depending on the drug’s chemical composition, inappropriate disposal could lead to water system contamination. This pollution poses a threat to a number of elements, including human health and marine ecosystems. The risks related to inappropriate medicine disposal are briefly discussed here, along with some tips on how to avoid them.
Prior to now, it had been suggested to utilize these disposal methods to prevent accidental child or adult opiate abuse. On the other hand, when septic systems and water treatment facilities were built, pharmaceutical compounds were not intended to be eliminated from water. It has been discovered that drinking water and streams around the country contain substances linked to medications.
Pharmaceuticals are present in 40% of the country’s drinking water, which is filtered by underground aquifers. All of these substances have been linked to steroid, antibiotic, antidepressant, painkiller, and other drugs. Throwing medications in the garbage could be dangerous since landfill chemicals leach into surface water. What kind of environmental harm could these contaminants cause? According to studies, leftover prescription medication has impacted various species, including fish and frogs, in terms of growth, reproduction, and behavior. People and animals are harmed when contaminated seafood is consumed.
Additionally, after being handled in wastewater treatment facilities, these substances—along with the byproducts of their breakdown—end up in lakes and rivers. The microorganisms and nutritional value start to change once they are introduced to these biomes. The degree of microbial contamination in a region may have a significant impact. The same water is then used to irrigate the farmlands and cattle ranches on which we rely.
Major offenders like cattle farms, hospitals, and nursing homes cannot be stopped, but individuals can help. Read the medication’s information page in its entirety first. The EPA waste code and if the medication is flammable, corrosive, poisonous, or reactive should be mentioned on a brochure or pamphlet. The FDA also has a flush list on their website. To decide whether it is okay to flush or throw away a medicine, use this information.
If you’re not sure if a drug falls into one of these categories, bring it to a drug disposal facility or a public disposal site for restricted substances in your community. Similar caution should be exercised when purchasing. Medication shouldn’t be kept on hand because it could expire and lose its effectiveness.
Read the reference image for additional information on how to properly dispose of drugs.