Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) are becoming apparent within waterways across the country. PPCPs include products such as drugs/medication/antibiotics, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, sunscreens, soaps, cosmetics and perfumes. It is estimated that of the 4,000,000 prescriptions filled annually approximately 200,000,000 pounds of drugs are improperly disposed of in America.
Many times, these substances enter the waterways by washing off via showering and swimming or by being poured down the drain. Wastewater plants are not designed to remove these substances from the water and little is known about the long-term effects these chemicals have both on the environment and in humans.
What You Can Do to properly dispose of PPCPs:
Many states have created programs for proper disposal of unused prescriptions, cosmetics, lotions and vitamins. Below are several steps you can take to protect yourself and the environment:
- Take unused drugs and medicines to a “community pharmaceutical take-back program” for proper disposal.
- Do not flush unused portions of drugs/medicines down the toilet, unless the label indicates to flush.
- Throw unused medications in the trash ONLY AFTER you make them unpalatable by mixing them with glue, kitty litter, wet coffee grounds or in a leak-proof container.
- Make certain prescriptions are in a child-proof container and placed in a hard to reach location – this is the number one cause of accidental poisonings, contributing to an 80% rise in poison related deaths.