Groundwater Green - Our Daily Green

Friday, September 3, 2010

Groundwater Green

At a recent trip to our local county fair, Our Daily Green had the opportunity to talk with the local Green Team representative about different local recycling initiatives and learned about the upcoming, first ever, DEA Nationwide Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, in municipalities around the nation on September 25, 2010.

It was once common practice to simply flush unused medications or pour them down the sink. In a 2008 study, traces of pharmaceuticals were found in tap water around the nation, showing the most heavy concentrations in densely populated metropolitan areas.

According to an article from Pharmwaste problems of contamination from flushing medications are being studied by the WHO:
The World Health Organization indicates that human risk assessments have shown low concentrations of pharmaceuticals in drinking water have a negligible health risk. But WHO points out that long-term exposures have not been evaluated, especially in populations with other illnesses or with compromised immune systems.

Also, according to the WHO, antibiotics in water supplies are a potential concern because the most frequently used antibiotics are becoming less effective as the infections they are designed to combat become resistant. That resistance increases with heightened exposure to the drugs.
There is a better way to dispose of unused prescription medications and over the counter drugs as outlined by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, including removing the drugs from the bottles, (recycling the bottles), and putting them in sealed containers such as old deli or margarine containers and mix with coffee grounds before disposal. Frankly, it is the opinion of Our Daily Green that it's a lot easier to just participate in a drug take-back program such as the upcoming national one or more frequently sponsored local ones.  
In 2006, the Wisconsin Groundwater Guardians organized a drug take back day, and  "homeowners turned in 418 pounds of uncontrolled pharmaceuticals and three, 3-gallon containers of controlled drugs such as painkillers. Many times during the day, as many as 10 cars were waiting in line to dispose of drugs". Many pharmacies also have collection bins. Such initiatives result in safe disposal of the pharmaceuticals by proper incineration, protecting the groundwater.

Our Daily Green encourages our readers to sort through expired and unused medications and get ready for the National Take Back day, September 25th. To find the local collection site, enter a zip code on the

Make our water safer for today and future generations.

drugs in water
this cartoon courtesy of the fabulous artist and green cartoonist, Mean Joe Green aka Joe Mohr, MANY THANKS!

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