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RE: Pharmaceuticals

Title: Message
Hi Thomas -
Check out the wealth of info on the Washington State Dept. of Ecology's website at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/hwtr/pharmaceuticals/index.html:  "Managing Pharmaceutical Waste."    In particular, click on links to BMPs, a "how do I manage my waste?" flowchart, and resources/links.      
The info was developed by Ecology staff and 2 work groups:  the King Co. Interagency Regulatory Analysis Committee (IRAC) and some participants in the regional Medical Industry Waste Prevention Roundtable (MIRT).  
You'll find guidance on handling other pharm. wastes besides pills:  syringes, inhalers, cough syrups, IV liquids, mercury-containing pharmaceuticals, ointments/creams, and more.  It was developed with all types of health care settings in mind (hospitals to home health care, prisons and other inpatient facilities, veterinarians - any place where meds are used). 
Contact person for more info is Jenny Yoo at WDOE's NW Regional Office:  425-649-7166, or jyoo461@ecy.wa.gov.  Additional contacts re: POTW impacts and "how do you implement BMPs in a small facility" are Debra Oliver and Cheri Grasso at the Local HW Mgmt. Program in King County.  Debra = 206-263-3079 / debra.oliver@metrokc.gov; Cheri = 206-263-3089 / cheri.grasso@metrokc.gov    Any of these folks can weigh in on the question of taking back pharm. waste from outpatients, too.
Regards - Cathy Buller
Pacific NW Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC)
----Original Message-----
From: owner-p2tech@great-lakes.net [mailto:owner-p2tech@great-lakes.net] On Behalf Of Thomas Vinson-Peng
Sent: Thursday, May 13, 2004 9:07 AM
To: P2tech
Subject: Pharmaceuticals

Well, I am in my new home at the University of Texas, and am finally putting my head above the mass of administrative issues to get back to P2.
I got one of my first calls and it is a big issue. 
The caller coordinates a series of hospice operations.  He has been getting an increasing number of calls from people who want to know what to do with pharmaceuticals that are left over.    I am sure we all know this is an emerging issue. After a lot of research he came my way.  To date the best solution he has heard is to water down the chemicals, pour them over kitty litter and trash them...GASP!  Others are flushing them into the POTW system.So far H2E list serve is telling me that there isn't really a good strategy yet...so I know this crowd of creative thinkers will come up with something.   A series of local programs are attempting to address it with take back and disposal programs. They all remind me of control or remediation.  Even these programs are challenged because you are dealing with controlled substances that also pose a hazard to the environment.    
I spoke with some POTW people and they are also vexed. Not only is disposal an issue, but much of the chemical finds it's way into the toliet as urine.
Anybody got a good idea? 
I will get ahead of some of the more philosophical people and say the ultimate source reduction is not to get sick.  Barring that, what should be done with left over pharmaceuticals from home health care/hospice?
Thomas Vinson-Peng
Southwest Network for Zero Waste
University of Texas
10100 Burnet Rd.  CEER-R 7100
Austin, TX 78758
Phone: 512/232-7149
Fax: 512/471-1720

The Southwest Zero Waste Network is a proud member of the National Prevention Resource Exchange http://www.p2rx.org