Historically, many people have taken to the habit of flushing old or unwanted medications down the drain, a practice that is sometimes found in the offices of healthcare providers. However, the question needs to be asked; where do those drains lead? The truth of the matter is that flushing medications down the drain disperses the chemicals in those medications into our water systems. Unfortunately, our water filtration systems are not equipped to properly take out all of the medications. This means that small traces of medications, including antibiotics, hormones, mood stabilizers and other drugs, are ending up in our drinking water. To put this into perspective, a recent study showed that 24 major metropolitan areas had drugs in the water.
Because of this, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is introducing a proposal for new hazardous waste rules. The first involves pharmaceutical waste disposal, while the other component deals with the management of other hazardous wastes.
The pharmaceutical rule would prevent all facilities in healthcare from flushing their pills down the drain. If this happens, more than 6,400 tons of hazardous waste could be prevented from ending up in our water systems. These changes would help take steps to make drinking water safer by reducing the amount of pharmaceuticals in the water.
The other rule suggested (called the generator rule), looks to improve the labeling of hazardous waste, and emergency planning and preparedness. The idea is to improve multiple aspects of healthcare including safety of facilities, employees, as well as the general public.
“These rules provide businesses with certainty and the flexibility they need to successfully operate in today’s marketplace,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “The proposals will improve the safety and health of our communities by providing clear, flexible and protective hazardous waste management standards.”
If you are a healthcare facility looking for a safe, compliant, and affordable option for your pharmaceuticals; MedPro offers a solution for both over-the-counter, non-controlled, and controlled pharmaceutical drugs. This option helps keep drugs out of our water systems! Contact a representative for more information.
Feature, K. (n.d.). Drugs in Our Drinking Water? Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/drugs-in-our-drinking-water
Gurlat, A. (2015). EPA Proposes Rules on Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal, Haz Labeling. Retrieved from http://waste360.com/legislation-regulation/epa-proposes-rules-pharmaceutical-waste-disposal-haz-labeling?NL=WST-03&Issue=WST-03_20150901_WST-03_742&sfvc4enews=42&cl=article_1&utm_rid=CPEQW000001128514&utm_campaign=5249&utm_medium=email&elq2=a7ff7f11e78847