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EPA proposal to ban flushing “hazardous waste” meds

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a new rule that would go a long way towards making our “waterways, wells, and drinking water” safer. The new rule would “ban hospitals and pharmacies from sending unused prescription drugs classified as ‘hazardous waste’ down the sink or flushing them down toilets. Hazardous waste drugs represent around 4%-5% of all pharmaceuticals. They can be something as simple as sedatives or vitamins, and can contain heavy metals, be corrosive, reactive, flammable or even toxic. While the technology used in water treatment systems is better than ever, “there is increasing realization among both healthcare professionals and environmental regulators that many pharmaceutical and personal care products” are not removed by them. The state of Delaware conducted test on its water back in 2008, and found “traces of 10 [pharmaceuticals and personal care products] in water samples including the pain killer acetaminophen.” The head of Delaware’s Division of Public Health’s Office of Drinking Water ensured residents the results were “too low to pose a public health concern.”

To learn more about the EPA’s proposed rule, click the link: