In recent years,† scientists have detected trace amounts of more than 150 different human and veterinary medicines in environments as far afield as the Arctic. Eighty percent of the U.S.ís streams and nearly a quarter of the nationís groundwater sampled by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has been found to be contaminated with a variety of medications.
In the meantime, according to an AP story, analysis of tap water supplies in major metropolitan areas conducted by the Associated Press has revealed that the water supply in 24 major U.S. cities — serving over 40 million people — are contaminated with trace amounts of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, anti-seizure medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, psychotropic drugs, and pain medication.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Donít flush old medications! Although much of the pollution comes from the urine of our over-prescribed population, flushing old medication clearly doesn’t help the situation. Individuals aside, one study estimated the nationís nursing homes discard anywhere from $73 million to $378 million worth of drugs a year. Some are incinerated, but many are flushed.
Unused portions of these medicines must be disposed of properly to avoid harm to wildlife, pets, and people.