Thursday, July 9, 2009

Safe Disposal of Unused Medications

We've all seen this typical disposal method--the flush method. But according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, this is an absolute No-No. It makes sense, of course. Water in the sewer systems may dissolve medications, but the chemistry remains. Since medications cannot be removed from gray water through the cleansing process, it is shed into waterways, irrigation systems and other places where humans and animals can come into contact with it. Herein lies the danger.

The recommendations of the Florida DEP are as follows:

  • Leave medications in original containers, with medicine names exposed in case they are accidentally ingested.

  • For your privacy, mark out your name and other identifying information about you.

  • To reduce misuse of medications, add a small amount of water or soda to pills, which will begin to dissolve them. Liquid medications can be rendered unusable by adding a small amount of inedible product such as cat litter or soil.

  • Secure bottle caps with duct tape.

  • Small medicine bottles can be placed inside a liquid detergent container, which is made of hard plastic and is not visible inside. Likewise, duct tape this container shut, as well.

  • Discard the above materials in a closed garbage bag, not in a recycle bin.

Keep in mind that the key here is to disguise and disable the medications from use by scavengers who might take these medicines and become ill from them.

These guidelines are suggested by the Florida DEP not only for human safety, but also for that of our aquatic environment, where treated waste water often ends up. This is a reminder that even treated water cannot remove medication. Please! Do your part to protect our water quality.

No comments:

Custom Search