Proper Disposal of Old Medicine

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 “Pouring your outdated medications down the sink or flushing them down the toilet can have a negative impact on our streams and ultimately our drinking water,” said Clermont Water Resources Department Program Manager John McManus.  While pharmaceuticals have not been detected in local streams or drinking water, to date, they are starting to have an impact on waterways in other parts of the country.  “We need to change our habits now to ensure our waterways remain healthy,” said McManus.

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies have identified over 100 individual pharmaceuticals and personal care products in environmental samples and drinking water.  Additionally, a study conducted by the Associated Press in 2007-2008 detected drugs in the drinking supplies of 24 major metropolitan areas.  “While these levels were not found to be at levels that pose a human health risk, some studies have shown impacts on fish and other aquatic life,” said McManus.  “As the use of prescription medications increase, there is a concern that medicine levels in treated drinking water will also rise.”

Unless otherwise directed, it is best not to flush unused medications or pour them down the sink or drain; throw them in the trash.  To protect children and pets, place the unwanted medication in a sealable bag; adding kitty litter, coffee grounds, or sawdust makes it less appealing to both children and pets to eat.  Before throwing the medication away, remove all identifying personal information from the containers.

For more information on the proper disposal of prescription drugs, contact the Clermont County Storm Water Department at (513) 732-7880.

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