Resolving to clean out your medicine cabinet this year is a good
idea. Hanging onto unused medications can increase the chances of
taking the wrong one, and old drugs can lose their potency, reports the
Harvard Heart Letter. But have you ever thought about where
the medicine will end up? Scientists are finding everything from
aspirin to Zoloft in our streams, rivers, and lakes.
The traditional advice has been to flush unused drugs down the toilet
or put them in the trash. Neither is a good method, says the Harvard Heart Letter.
Drugs can kill helpful bacteria in septic systems and pass largely
untouched through sewage treatment plants. Children and animals can get
into drugs tossed in the trash, and once in landfills, drugs can
trickle into groundwater.
prohibit medication recycling. However, there are a few innovative drug
disposal programs, in which citizens can drop off medications along
with household hazardous waste, mail unused drugs to their state's Drug
Enforcement Agency, or donate drugs to the needy.
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