In 1999 the United States Geological Survey conducted a study where waterways downstream of areas of heavy urbanization and agriculture were tested for a broad variety of pollutants. The study found that many chemicals including pharmaceutical wastes such as durgs, steroids, hormones, and personal care products were present in the water.
Pharmaceutical wastes have negative effects on aquatic life including slowing the growth of young amphibians, skewing male to female ratios, and disrupting the endocrine system.
These wastes end up in the water by passing through the body, and disposal down the toilet or in the garbage. Wastewater treatment plants are not capable of removing all of these wastes so anything that is flushed down the toilet can pass through into the receiving water. Throwing them in the trash is no better because it can leach into groundwater.
We can prevent our unused wastes from entering our water ways. We do not dispose of our hazardous wastes such as flammables, corrosives and other toxins by flushing, and we must manage pharmaceutical wastes the same way.
To keep your pharmaceutical wastes out of the water, take them to Humboldt Waste Management Authority and the Open Door Community Center. Locations and times for drop off, as well as do's and don'ts are detailed in this brochure.