[Pharmwaste] RE: Vitamins and Supplements

Ed Gottlieb EGottlieb at cityofithaca.org
Fri Aug 14 12:13:54 EDT 2015

Hi Amy,

I think Ross makes a good point.

It could also be argued that keeping the list of not accepted items as small as possible makes the process simple.  If sorting accepted from not accepted items gets complicated, there is a risk that program participation could decrease.

Does the chromium issue preclude you from utilizing Covanta's free disposal option?  They seem to have a number of energy facilities in CT.  Rx4Safety at covanta.com<mailto:Rx4Safety at covanta.com>.

When you and a law enforcement officer empty the drop boxes, are you doing any sort of inventory or was your observation a casual one?  I'd be very interested in getting details of any inventory results you have and are prepared to share.


Ed Gottlieb
Chair, Coalition for Safe Medication Disposal
Industrial Pretreatment Coordinator
Ithaca Area Wastewater Treatment Facility
525 3rd Street
Ithaca, NY  14850
(607) 273-8381
fax: (607) 273-8433
From: pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us [pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us] on behalf of Bunnell, Ross [Ross.Bunnell at ct.gov]
Sent: Friday, August 14, 2015 10:57 AM
To: 'pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us'
Subject: [Pharmwaste] FW: Vitamins and Supplements


Although it doesn’t squarely address your question, I’d like to offer some insight from Connecticut DEEP’s experience with retail pharmacies that may inform this issue.

In our inspections of retail pharmacies in Connecticut, we have made some surprising findings, including some relating to the management of vitamins and nutritional supplements.  More specifically, we have found that many vitamins contain sufficiently high concentrations of selenium or chromium as to be regulated as “toxic” hazardous wastes when they  are disposed of.  (I should note that chromium is a rather unique issue for CT because the federal HW regs and most states provide an exemption from HW requirements for wastes that contain primarily trivalent chromium, which is the type of chromium that is found in vitamins; however CT does not adopt this exemption, meaning that many vitamins will be classified as HW for chromium in CT, where they would not be in most other states).

Obviously vitamins and other nutritional substances contain a “nutritive” rather than a “toxic” amount of such metals when consumed in the recommended dosage.  However, when large amounts of vitamins are disposed of at the same time, the potential exists for this disposal to result in a slug of contaminant being released into the environment all at once.  This might argue in favor of managing the vitamins/nutritional supplements the same as the other pharmaceuticals that are collected – namely, in a manner that will ensure that any toxic constituents are properly managed and are not released into the environment.

On a similar note, believe it or not, we have also found that some “energy” bars contain enough chromium to be classified as a “toxic” hazardous waste in CT.  Apparently, chromium is believed to boost energy, and some manufacturers add it to their energy bars to appeal to consumers who think that it enhances the effectiveness of the product.

--Ross Bunnell, CT DEEP

From: pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us [mailto:pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us] On Behalf Of Tiemeier, Amy
Sent: Friday, August 14, 2015 10:28 AM
To: pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us
Subject: [Pharmwaste] Vitamins and Supplements

Good Friday Morning!

I wanted to get the group’s thoughts on the necessity of incinerating vitamins and supplements vs just throwing them in the trash or flushing them.

Our non-profit has noticed that a fair amount of what we get in our drop boxes are large bottles of vitamins and supplements that are expired. As we pay for incineration by weight and are reliant on donations to support our incineration, we were wondering if we could remove vitamins and supplements from the list of items we accept and rather advise people to throw them in the trash or flush them. It doesn’t seem like these types of items are the ones we are worried about especially as they come from naturally occurring sources. That being said, I wanted to get the thoughts of the experts on the list serve who understand the environmental impact of these things better than I do.

Thank you for any input or insight you have.

Warm Regards,
Amy Tiemeier

Amy Tiemeier, Pharm.D., BCPS
Director, Community Partnerships
Associate Director, Office of Experiential Education
Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacy Practice

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4588 Parkview Place, St. Louis, MO 63110-1088
Office: 314.446.8554 | Fax: 314.446.8386
amy.tiemeier at stlcop.edu<mailto:amy.tiemeier at stlcop.edu>
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