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Re: E-M:/ Washtenaw Cty MI drug disposal program



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Enviro-Mich message from "Mary Charlotte Martin" <marti279@msu.edu>
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To all --
For more information about the Earth Keepers, and their Pharmaceutical Drop-off Day, visit the Superior Watershed Partnership's website. You'll find some downloadable fact sheets, articles, and disposal guidelines here as well.


http://www.superiorwatersheds.org/

Mary Martin



John Rebers writes:

Ted –



Earthkeepers, a group that works in the Upper Peninsula, sponsored a 1-time collection of pharmaceuticals in the spring of 2006. They collected quite a few drugs and helped raise awareness. I like the idea of getting pharmacies involved, since that institutionalizes the solution for more than a 1-time pickup.



One challenge with this type of collection is that some of the pharmaceuticals are controlled substances, so both the state police and the Drug Enforcement Agency have concerns about how collection is handled.



John Rebers



From: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of rrrasoc@aol.com
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2008 11:30 AM
To: tschettler@igc.org; enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Subject: Re: E-M:/ Washtenaw Cty MI drug disposal program




Ted,



Many municipal household hazardous waste collection programs and municipal departments of public works are actively involved in discouraging the flushing or illicit disposal of expired pharmaceuticals, both OTC and prescription, and are providing alternatives. However, I can't speak to what pharmacies and hospitals are doing.

Mike

Michael J. Csapo
General Manager
Resource Recovery and Recycling Authority of Southwest Oakland County


www.rrrasoc.org

-----Original Message-----
From: Ted Schettler <tschettler@igc.org>
To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
Sent: Tue, 21 Oct 2008 11:22 am
Subject: E-M:/ Washtenaw Cty MI drug disposal program


------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enviro-Mich message from "Ted Schettler" <tschettler@igc.org> ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Are other counties, municipalities, pharmacies, or hospitals in Michigan addressing this problem? Ted Schettler =========== County fosters safer disposal of drugs Residents advised to take old medicine to certain pharmacies Monday, October 20, 2008 BY ART AISNERThe Ann Arbor News For decades, pharmacists and gov ernment officials recommended flushing expired or unneeded prescription medications down the toilet. But that practice is changing as more chemical compounds traced to medications are appearing in waterways locally and around the country. Washtenaw County has an aggressive prescription-drug disposal program that is rapidly expanding, officials said. Nine local pharmacies now have bins for customers to dispose of their excess prescriptions as part of a joint environmental protection effort between private businesses and multiple county departments. The county established a Web site - www.dontflushdrugs.com - about the initiative that also features guidelines for disposal and a 4-minute video. "It's a great program because it helps keep our environment safer,'' said Dr. Sahar Swidan, owner of Pharmacy Solutions in Scio Township. Pharmacy Solutions has filled five large containers since the start of September. "We've had to do some educating, but the scary stuff is that the medications end up in the environment and in our drinking water.'' Flushing or washing medications down the drain was the easiest and once thought to be the safest way to ensure excess pills wouldn't land in the wrong hands. Some federal agencies still recommend flushing prescription medicati on. But there's evidence that the direct contact with waterways - and septic systems ill-equipped to filter chemical compounds - leads to problems downstream. The U.S. Geological Survey in 2002 reported 80 percent of sampled watersheds nationally contained at least one pharmaceutical chemical; half of them contained seven or more. A 2004 study of the Huron River by the Ann Arbor Water Utilities Department found that nearly half of the 22 targeted chemical compounds were in water samples. The Huron River is the primary source of Ann Arbor's drinking water. The compounds identified in the study included antibiotics, analgesics, stimulants and steroids. Few of those substances were found in treated drinking water. And there are no studies about the impact to local residents' health. But city and county officials fear that a prolonged contamination from pharmaceutical chemicals could harm wildlife and the ecosystem. "The cumulative effect of this continuing for years and years is an unknown risk, but any risk at all is too much when there is an alternative solution,'' said Jeff Krcmarik, supervisor of Washtenaw County's environmental programs. Instead of flushing, the county recommends sealing prescription bottles with duct tape, wrapping them in multiple plastic bags and then disposing of them0
in the trash. Pharmacists can legally take back only certain medications and, at this point, most do not. Municipalities and other organizations that sponsor toxic-trash cleanup efforts don't accept the materials either, Krcmarik said. A medical waste collection company has been hired to handle the drugs collected through the local program and incinerate them. Both landfills and incinerators have their environmental drawbacks. However, intense heat nullifies the dangerous compounds in drugs. And garbage dumps are lined, and the waters that leach out are treated to remove harmful chemicals, Krcmarik said. ============================================================== ENVIRO-MICH: Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action. Archives at http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/ Postings to: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net For info, send email to majordomo@great-lakes.net with a one-line message body of "info enviro-mich" ================================================3D============= * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * All views and opinions presented above are solely those of the author or attributed source and do not necessarily reflect those of GLIN or the Great Lakes Commission. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *






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All views and opinions presented above are solely those of the author or
attributed source and do not necessarily reflect those of GLIN or the Great Lakes Commission.
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