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January 26, 2023
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Cleaning Out Your Medicine Cabinet

How should medications be disposed of if you are cleaning out your medicine cabinet? Inappropriate disposal could lead to contamination of the local ecosystem depending on the medication’s chemical composition. Among the numerous things this pollution affects are human health and marine environments, to name just two. This article briefly discusses the issues caused by inappropriate medication disposal and offers some tips on how to avoid them.

These disposal methods had previously been proposed to prevent unintentional opiate misuse in both adults and children. On the other hand, when septic systems and water treatment facilities were first constructed, pharmaceutical compounds were not intended to be eliminated from water. It has been demonstrated that drinking water and streams all around the country contain compounds linked to narcotics.

Pharmaceuticals are present in 40% of the country’s drinking water, which is filtered by underground aquifers. These substances have all been connect to a variety of different drugs, including steroid, antibiotic, antidepressant, and painkillers. Throwing medications in the garbage could be dangerous since landfill chemicals leach into surface water. What kind of environmental harm might these pollutants cause? Studies have shown that leftover prescription medications have an impact on the growth, reproduction, and behavior of many species, including fish and frogs. Animals and people are harmed by contaminated seafood.

Additionally, after being handled in wastewater treatment facilities, these substances—along with the byproducts of their breakdown—end up in lakes and rivers. They begin to change in terms of bacterial composition and nutritional value after being exposed to various biomes. The degree of microbial contamination at a site could make a significant difference. The same water is then used to irrigate the farms and ranches that support our way of life.

People can still make a difference even if major offenders like hospitals, nursing homes, and cattle farms cannot be stopped. First, read the whole prescription package insert. The EPA waste code and if the medication is flammable, corrosive, poisonous, or reactive should be stated on a pamphlet or leaflet. The FDA website also features a flush list. Using this knowledge, decide if it is best to flush or throw away a medication.

Bring any prescriptions you’re unsure of to a drug disposal center or a public drug disposal location in your community. The same caution ought to be exercised when purchasing. Medication shouldn’t be kept on hand because it can expire and lose its effectiveness.

See the attached infographic for more details on how to properly dispose of medication.

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