[Pharmwaste] DEP Tests Show Prescription Drugs Leaching FromLandfills (Maine)

Rebecca Sutton becky at ewg.org
Mon Feb 1 12:29:50 EST 2010


I've worked with MWH Laboratories (mwhlabs.com) measuring triclosan in wastewater, and Axys Analytical (axysanalytical.com) measuring triclosan in urine.
becky

On Feb 1, 2010, at 4:25 AM, Sue Dayton wrote:

> Folks:
> 
> Does anyone have the name of a lab (besides USGS) that can test for
> triclosan?
> 
> Thanks, Sue 
> 
> Sue Dayton
> Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League
> North Carolina Healthy Communities Program
> PO BOX 44
> Saxapahaw, NC 27340
> (336) 525-2003
> sdayton at swcp.com
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
> -  Martin Luther King Jr.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us
> [mailto:pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us] On Behalf Of Tenace,
> Laurie
> Sent: Friday, January 15, 2010 8:03 AM
> To: Pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us
> Subject: [Pharmwaste] DEP Tests Show Prescription Drugs Leaching
> FromLandfills (Maine)
> 
> DEP Tests Show Prescription Drugs Leaching From Landfills
> http://www.mpbn.net/News/MaineNews/tabid/181/ctl/ViewItem/mid/3475/ItemId/10
> 603/Default.aspx
> 
> 
> 01/14/2010 05:50 PM ET   Reported By: Susan Sharon
> 
> The Maine Department of Environmental Protection says it now has enough
> evidence to prove that unwanted prescription drugs being tossed into local
> landfills pose a threat to surface and groundwater supplies around the
> state. New test results of leachate at three Maine landfills show high
> concentrations of a wide range of pharmaceuticals. And the findings are
> likely to boost support for a bill to require drug companies to collect and
> dispose of unused medication.
> 
> "Prove it." That's what Mark Hyland of the DEP's Bureau of Remediation and
> Waste Management says drug makers asked him to do. For a long time they had
> argued that if unused medication shouldn't be flushed down the toilet
> because of the risk to ground and surface water, then the best option was to
> throw it out with the trash until someone could show them evidence that that
> also posed a threat.
> 
> But now Hyland says he can prove that prescription drugs are showing up in
> water that collects at three Maine landfills: in Augusta, Brunswick and
> Bath. "And what we found was that the landfill leachate includes things like
> antidepressants, antibiotics, steroids, hormones, heart and asthma
> medications and a lot of pain medications, kind of the usual group of
> pharmaceuticals that you would see anywhere," Hyland says.
> 
> Leachate, the rainwater that percolates through the landfill and collects at
> the bottom, typically flows to a wastewater treatment plant. But unlike
> human waste that can be treated, pharmaceuticals cannot. And this
> contaminated water negatively affects aquatic organisms, fish and other
> wildlife.
> 
> Hyland says the wide-ranging spectrum of medication found in the leachate
> and some of the high concentrations were surprising. "There hasn't been a
> lot of testing," he says. "U.S. Geological Survey has done some testing,
> mostly in the western part of the United States, and we were surprised at
> some of the levels we saw."
> 
> Hyland says the findings are likely to boost support for a controversial
> bill carried over from the last legislative session. Sponsored by
> Representative Anne Perry, the bill would require drug companies that
> distribute medication in Maine also be responsible for collecting and
> properly disposing of unwanted drugs in medical waste incinerators.
> 
> Not surprisingly, Perry says the drug comapnies are opposed to the idea.
> "Essentially they don't want to do it. I mean that's really where they're
> at."
> 
> A spokesman for the drug research and manufacturers group known as PhRMA was
> unable to be reached for comment for this story. But in the past, Perry
> says, PhRMA has objected to what it says would be the bill's high costs --
> upwards of $20 million -- and intensive requirements.
> 
> Perry says she has tried to make the legislation more palatable for the
> industry by removing some testing and study provisions. She says she's also
> put a cap on expenses for the first three years of the program.
> 
> "I really wanted an opportunity to really work with the pharmaceutical
> companies because my hope and intent is to get this passed, and with the
> passage with this we've got to have something that is doable for the
> pharmaceutical companies, and I'd really wanted to do that."
> 
> A registered nurse, Perry says her research shows that in 2008 about 2.7
> million prescriptions were written in Maine. Some estimates suggest as many
> as half of the medication prescribed is thrown out or sits on the shelf of a
> medicine cabinet somewhere unused.
> 
> Mark Hyland of the DEP says this poses a threat to people as well as the
> environment. "The main concern that there's a lot of accidental poisonings
> that go on, people that take prescriptions that they shouldn't be taking,
> children that take prescriptions that they shouldn't be taking and drug
> overdoses from prescription drugs."
> 
> Maine has a higher death rate from overdoses than car accidents. Even if
> most of the medication is consumed and expelled in human waste or flushed
> down the toilet, Perry says the remainder, however small, is a problem that
> ought to be addressed. A work session on her bill is scheduled for Tuesday.
> 
> 
> 
> Laurie Tenace
> Environmental Specialist
> Waste Reduction Section
> Florida Department of Environmental Protection
> 2600 Blair Stone Rd., MS 4555
> Tallahassee FL 32399-2400
> P: 850.245.8759
> F: 850.245.8811
> Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us
> 
> Mercury: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/categories/mercury/default.htm
> 
> Unwanted Medicine:
> http://www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/categories/medications/default.htm
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> The Department of Environmental Protection values your feedback as a
> customer. DEP Secretary Michael W. Sole is committed to continuously
> assessing and improving the level and quality of services provided to you.
> Please take a few minutes to comment on the quality of service you received.
> Copy the url below to a web browser to complete the DEP survey:
> http://survey.dep.state.fl.us/?refemail=Laurie.Tenace@dep.state.fl.us Thank
> you in advance for completing the survey.
> 
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____________
Rebecca Sutton, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
Environmental Working Group
2201 Broadway, Suite 308, Oakland, CA 94612
p: 510.444.0973 x 304 | f: 510.444.0982 | www.ewg.org

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