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Properly Disposing of Old Medications Can Prevent Pollution

Release Date: 9/17/2007
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA (September 17, 2007) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has launched a new website to increase awareness about possible harm to the environment from chemicals found in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, perfumes, and other personal care products. The website offers consumer tips on properly disposing of these products to help prevent pollution.

Studies have shown that pharmaceuticals are present in our nation’s rivers. As EPA scientists and other researchers continue to investigate the environmental effects, the agency suggests one straight-forward way consumers can help out – properly disposing of expired and unused prescription drugs. The federal government has developed guidelines that strike a balance between environmental protection and human health risks for poison or abuse from discarded medications:

- Take unused, unneeded or expired prescription drugs out of their original containers and throw them in the trash.

- Mix prescription drugs with an undesirable substance like unused coffee or kitty litter, and put them in an impermeable container such as empty cans or sealed bags.

- Flush prescription drugs down the toilet only if the label specifically instructs doing so.

- Participate in community pharmaceutical take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused medications to a central location for proper disposal.