Get Your Green On Article for Open Line, “No Drugs Down the Drain!” October 19, 2011

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No Drugs Down the Drain!

It used to be when we had medication that expired or was no longer needed we just flushed it down the toilet, poured it in the sink or wrapped it and threw it in the trash. Now we know those are dangerous practices for our environment, especially water quality and should never be done.

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCP’s) such as lotions, sun-screen, cleaning products and veterinary drugs have been found in at least trace amounts in surface water, drinking water and wastewater effluent in samplings throughout the United States.  Wastewater treatment plants are designed to remove conventional pollutants such as solids and biodegradable materials. However, they are not designed for many of these man-made products such as medications and personal care products. While PPCP’s may be  found in very low levels in drinking water, there is a concern of possible cumulative effects of long-term exposure. The PPCP’s may react in ways that are different than their intended purpose once they are introduced into the environment or mixed with other substances. For example, medications in surface water bodies have shown to interfere with growth and reproduction in marine organisms changing the ratio of female to male fish and altering physical and behavioral traits.   Landfills often discharge leachate, the fluid that results from rain and other liquids that percolate through the landfill, into sanitary sewer systems. Medications, acids and other toxic materials that may have been put into the landfill over the years have the potential to leach into this fluid.

So what are we to do with unused or expired pharmaceuticals? Environmental Sustainability is happy to support the efforts by our Police Department who is once again participating in the DEA Drug Collection Event on Saturday, October 29, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Drop off your items at either the Ventura Police Department at 1425 Dowell Dr. or the Westside Resources Center, 110 N. Olive Street, Unit K.

Ventura residents can bring non-narcotic medications, liquids and inhalers, as well as cleaners, batteries, used oil and other hazardous waste items to the City’s monthly Household Hazardous Waste Collection event on the third Saturday of the month except December. Call Environmental Sustainability at 652-4525 to make an appointment. As a community service Roger’s Pharmacy at 2909 Loma Vista Road in Ventura, will also take any medication in pill form only during their store hours of Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. With these options available, there is no longer any reason to flush or trash old medications and further endanger our environment.

Contact: Christine Wied, cwied@cityofventura.net

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