What You Should Know About Medicines/How to Dispose of Unneeded Medications Safely

One of the major problem which is on board is "Drug pollution or pharmaceutical pollution". It includes pollution of the environment with pharmaceutical drugs and their metabolites, which reach the aquatic environment (groundwater, rivers, lakes, and oceans) through wastewater.

Many urban and rural sources of groundwater, although clean and pure enough to drink, for example, contain trace amounts of pharmaceutical ingredients, from birth control pills, antidepressants, painkillers, shampoos, anti-epileptics, caffeine, and many other pharma products

We as consumers are responsible for a significant amount of the pharmaceutical and personal care products that end up in streams, groundwater, lakes, and rivers. It is not uncommon to find a home cabinet full of unused and expired drugs. The problem is that out of all these drugs, only a fraction is disposed of properly.

For instance, data collected in 2007 from a medication collection program in California, suggested that only about 50% of all medications, prescription and over-the-counter, were discarded properly. Even if that figure is a huge estimate, and the real proportion could be lower, the conclusion is that there is a lot of unused and mostly expired medication that potentially gets into the water systems.[1]

Effects of Pharmaceutical Pollution

Effects on Fish and Aquatic Life: A number of studies have indicated that Oestrogen and chemicals that behave like it, have a feminizing effect on male fish and can alter female-to-male ratios. Such Oestrogen can be found in birth control pills and postmenopausal hormone treatments

Effect on Drinking Water: Drugs like Antipsychotics, Antineoplastic, Antibiotics etc. The chemicals present in these pharmaceuticals find a way into waterways, after being excreted from the body or after being flushed down the toilet. Most municipal sewage treatment facilities do not remove these pharmaceutical compounds from your drinking water and as such, we end up consuming the same compounds.

Long-term Effects on the Environment: Some pharmaceutical compounds last a long time in the environment and water supplies. Once concentration reaches a certain level, usually around one part per million, chemicals begin to affect the environment. Some drugs, like antiepileptics, are persistent, while pseudo-persistent meaning, they degrade eventually, but after quite some time

  1. https://www.safemedicinedisposal.org/