Environmental Hazards

When flushing a medication down the toilet or putting it down the drain, you may think that you have avoided the potential hazards of keeping unused and expired medications in your homes, but the fact is, one problem has been turned into another.

When we put medications down the drain, they return in our water supply.

  • Scientists have discovered small amounts of pharmaceuticals in lakes and rivers, including acetaminophen, steroids, hormones, codeine, antibiotics, antimicrobials, and ibuprofen.
  • Sewage treatment plans, septic systems, and drinking water infrastructure were not designed to remove these contaminants.
  • Aquatic life are sensitive to exposure to medications found in water. Notably, male fish are being feminized, creating a gender imbalance, intersex conditions, poor egg hatching success, decreased fertility and growth, and altered behavior.
  • Medications that get into the ground water negatively impact sentinel species such as earth worms and zooplankton, which serve as foundations for the pyramid of life.

Resources

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