Spring Cleaning – In Your Medicine Cabinet

by Megan Keegan

Drug Take-BackTrees are blooming, the grass is greening, and its finally time to throw open the windows for a little spring cleaning!  This year, don’t just dust the corner cobwebs and air out the linens—take this opportunity to clean out your medicine cabinet!

Don’t flush those expired medications! Turn them in at a take-back location on April 30.

Don’t flush those expired medications! Turn them in at a take-back location on April 30.

On Saturday, April 30, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will host another National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, an excellent opportunity to get rid of unwanted or expired medicines.

Why make the extra effort to drop off the meds when you could just flush them, trash them, or deal with them later?

Proper drug disposal helps protect our waterways. When we flush or trash meds they  can end up polluting our waterways, because they are sometimes difficult to remove from water using conventional water treatment methods.  As a result, trace amounts of drugs can negatively impact fish reproduction, contribute to antibiotic resistance, and even end up in our drinking water. EPA gathered data on a few select pharmaceuticals during the third round of Contaminant Candidate List monitoring. The Potomac River Basin Drinking Water Source Protection Partnership – focused on protecting the drinking water for nearly 5 million people in four states and the District of Columbia – provides outreach on proper drug disposal in the 14,670 square mile Potomac River Watershed.

It helps protect your family.  Lingering stores of unwanted or expired drugs can lead to misuse or an accidental poisoning.  According to the DEA, proper disposal of medication is an important step in battling our nation’s high rate of prescription drug abuse. Over half of teens abusing medicines get them from a family member or friend, including the home medicine cabinet, and often without their knowledge.

While there are steps you can take to safely dispose of drugs in your home, drug take-back programs are widely regarded as the first choice – the safest and most responsible way to dispose of unwanted or expired medicines.  Mark your calendars now, and use the link on this DEA page to find a collection site near you!

 

About the author: Meg Keegan works with diverse drinking water partnerships in the Source Water Protection program. She likes to do lunchtime runs on the Schuylkill river trail.

 

 

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Earth Day every day…and everywhere!

by Jennie Saxe

 

Flo- the WaterSense mascot

Flo- the WaterSense mascot

While every day is Earth Day at EPA, the excitement over the past couple of weeks surrounding Earth Day offered EPA mid-Atlantic staff some special opportunities to partner with local organizations in celebrating our environment. Along with our water programs, EPA highlighted ways that everyone can Act On Climate, the theme for this year’s Earth Day. A changing climate means changes to our water resources, so it’s more important than ever that we all work to conserve and protect them.

This year, several of EPA’s sustainability programs, including WaterSense, were featured at the Philadelphia Phillies “Red Goes Green” game on April 17. Our WaterSense program was also particularly busy sharing information on conserving water and saving money with groups including: the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors in Hershey, Pennsylvania; hospital staff and visitors in Anne Arundel, Maryland; and Campbell’s employees in Camden, New Jersey.

We also had the chance to spread the word about how proper prescription drug disposal protects our water resources. National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day was held on April 26. In case you missed it, EPA has some quick tips on proper prescription medication disposal.

For commuters and visitors at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, EPA water programs hosted a table featuring resources you can use every day including: mobile apps for tracking marine debris and learning about water quality at beaches; information for homeowners on proper septic system maintenance; steps you can take to protect your private drinking water well; resources for finding out about the health of waterways in your community; and ways that you can prepare, should extreme weather impact your water supply.

Many of EPA’s programs wrapped up the week at EarthFest on Temple University’s Ambler, PA campus. EPA staff shared information on water, recycling, composting, emergency response, and more with the thousands of children, parents, and teachers in attendance.

Even though Earth Day 2014 is now in the books, here’s hoping that you, too, will make every day Earth Day.

 

Dr. Jennie Saxe joined EPA in 2003 and is currently a Water Policy Analyst in the Water Protection Division of EPA Region 3 in Philadelphia. For Earth Day, and every day, Jennie purchases renewable power, takes public transportation, and uses vinegar to clean pretty much everything. 

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.