Thursday, October 02, 2014
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Environmental Impact

Unsafe Disposal Affects both You and the Environment


More than 100 different pharmaceuticals have been detected in lakes, rivers, reservoirs and streams throughout the world.1

Pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment and there is genuine concern that these compounds, in the small concentrations that they're at, could be causing impacts to human health or to aquatic organisms.1

A vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans.1

The New York state health department and the USGS tested the source of the city's water, upstate. They found trace concentrations of heart medicine, antibiotics, estrogen, anti-convulsants, a mood stabilizer and a tranquilizer.1

Even users of bottled water and home filtration systems don't necessarily avoid exposure. Bottlers, some of which simply repackage tap water, do not typically treat or test for pharmaceuticals, according to the industry's main trade group. The same goes for the makers of home filtration systems.1

In the United States, the problem isn't confined to surface waters. Pharmaceuticals also permeate aquifers deep underground, source of 40% of the nation's water supply. Federal scientists who drew water in 24 states from aquifers near contaminant sources such as landfills and animal feed lots found minuscule levels of hormones, antibiotics and other drugs.1

  1. USA Today. AP: Drugs found in drinking water. Available at http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-03-10-drugs-tap-water_N.htm. Accessed on February 26, 2010.


Additional Articles

If a drug take-back or collection program is not available in your area, please refer to Federal Guidelines from the Office of National Drug Control Policy on the proper disposal of medications.


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