Prescription Drug Disposal : Drug disposal may be lead to serious issues

Published: January, 2006

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.

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