[Pharmwaste] Health Dept to dispose of unused drugs (IL)

Tenace, Laurie Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us
Thu Nov 15 09:31:49 EST 2007

The Register-Mail, IL Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Health department to dispose of unused drugs (sorry I don't have the address
for this article.)
Flushing outdated prescriptions discouraged 
The Register-Mail

GALESBURG - Residents of Knox County will have another avenue for drug
disposal starting next month. 
In December, the Knox County Health Department will become a collection site
for unused or expired medicines. The health department also will accept
mercury thermometers and inhalers. 
People with unused or expired prescription drugs can drop them off at the
health department between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. 
"We have a biohazard room that will remain locked and we can store the waste
there until it is picked up by our hazardous waste disposal contractor," Knox
County Health Department administrator Greg Chance said. "I think it gives
people another avenue to safely dispose of drugs and it really isn't a burden
on the health department's time or our facility." 
Chance found out about the program through Julie Main, an associate city
planner for Galesburg. 
"I'm just thrilled that Greg (Chance) and the health department wanted to
partner with the city and help out with the disposal," Main said. "He and the
health department have given people a place where they can go any day of the
week and drop off the drugs." 
Main explained Galesburg is part of the Household Hazardous Waste Collection
Program - an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency program - that pays for
firms to collect many forms of hazardous waste materials. 
"So far, we have collected drugs at monthly events," Main said. "We've been
to Moon Towers Health Fair, the Gordon Behrents Senior Center and the Tools
for Life fair at the Sandburg Mall this past week. 
"The nice thing is that we will continue raising awareness at different
events, but people won't have to wait for the events to dispose of the drugs
and other materials." 
The move to make drug disposal part of hazardous waste collection is a
departure from the ways consumers were told to throw away unused and expired
In the past, drug companies and many pharmacists recommended flushing all
unused and expired medication down the toilet. That practice is starting to
be discouraged. Researchers and environmentalists have found flushed drugs
could kill helpful bacteria in septic systems and could pass through
treatment plants. 
"I went to a conference this past spring about the dangers of drug disposal,"
Main said. "The IEPA had a few scientists in who told us that they have found
hormones don't degrade as they pass through a sanitary district. 
"In some places, they have found male fish developing female characteristics
like ovaries." 
Recently the White House's Office of National Drug Policy recommended mixing
the unused drugs with pet waste or discarded food items. That practice is not
a good one and is primarily aimed at discouraging humans from foraging for
old medications. 
"Drugs can leak at landfills and there is the possibility the medicines could
reach groundwater," Main said. "There is also the possibility that animals
will ingest the drugs. 
"Removal through hazardous waste procedures are the safest way we have to get
rid of old and unused drugs." 

Knox County Health Department's drug take-back program 
- Begins: December 
- Where: 1361 W. Fremont St. 
- When: 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday 
- What: You can bring unused or expired prescription drugs, mercury
thermometers and inhalers to the health department for disposal. 
- Don't: Flush old medicines down the toilet or discard them with household
- Dangers: Discarded medications can pass through water sanitation or leak
into the ground if not disposed of by following hazardous waste procedures.
Laurie J. Tenace
Environmental Specialist
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Road, MS 4555
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2400
PH: (850) 245-8759
FAX: (850) 245-8811
Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us 

Mercury web pages:

Unwanted Medications web pages:

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