Does your medicine cabinet have half a bottle of prescription medication left over from an injury years ago? How many random expired OTC medications can you find around your house?
This Saturday, October 28, is your chance to dispose of those unused/unwanted medications properly! National Drug Take Back Day is designed to provide a safe, convenient,“no questions asked” opportunity to dispose of medications, addressing a critical public health issue. Find a Take Back LOCATION near you. While headlines across the state and across the nation have brought needed attention to such challenges as the opioid epidemic, pharmaceuticals also pose an emerging challenge to our water quality.
How exactly can pharmaceuticals and personal care products impact the surrounding environment?
However, in addition, the medicines and personal care products we use every day are having an unseen impact on our water resources. Pharmaceuticals like statins are prescribed to help us lower cholesterol levels, and headaches are banished by a few pills of ibuprofen. While the chemical compounds found in pharmaceuticals are metabolized internally, our bodies are not 100% efficient machines.
The remainder of the medications that our bodies do not use pass through our bodies and exit when we use the bathroom. Although wastewater treatment facilities do a great job of cleaning our water, these treatment processes cannot fully remove the multitude of complex chemicals within drugs, shampoos and other personal care products. These chemicals can build up in our water sources over time – consider the chemical “cocktail” of antibiotics, antidepressants, Viagra, painkillers, and more! As trace amounts of these different chemical compounds accumulate in the environment, in our waters, the long-term impacts to fish, amphibians, and humans alike are yet to be determined.
Check out “The Shower” from our award-winning What’s In Your Water? video series to learn more!
Do your part and check that home medicine cabinet today! Find a Take Back LOCATION near you and dispose of those medications this Saturday, October 28.
Read on for more information:
- Drugs in the Water (Harvard Health Publishing)
- The Complicated Question of Drugs in the Water (PBS/NOVA Next)
- AN AP INVESTIGATION : Pharmaceuticals Found in Drinking Water (Associated Press National Investigative Team)
- Pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment: agents of subtle change? (Environmental Health Perspectives Journal)