EPA wants public opinion on unused pharmaceutical disposal

By: September 10th, 2010 Email This Post Print This Post

EPA is requesting public comments on a draft guidance document titled Best Management Practices for Unused Pharmaceuticals at Health Care Facilities, for the study of unused pharmaceutical disposal at healthcare facilities.

The guidance was created after a concern was raised that pharmaceuticals are being discovered in the nation’s rivers, streams, and coastal waters at very low concentrations due to the large amounts of pharmaceuticals that are being flushed or disposed of down the drain.

The document is aimed at hospitals, medical clinics, doctor’s offices, long-term care facilities, and veterinary clinics, and describes techniques for reducing or avoiding pharmaceutical waste, practices for identifying and managing types of unused pharmaceuticals, and applicable disposal regulations.

In hopes that the document will decrease the amount of pharmaceuticals that are disposed of into bodies of water, EPA is soliciting recommendations from a wide range of stakeholders and welcomes public comments. A final version is expected to be published in late 2010.

Click here to view the document and give your comments.


By Judy Ruggeri on September 10th, 2010 at 8:15 pm

How are items that are outdated in an emergency kit in a dental office dispensed of? This also includes inhalers.

I hope they don’t forget to address the public also, as I’m sure they also may flush medications or not dispose of them properly.

We turn our outdated reagents, chemicals, etc. over to the teaching lab in our bio-institute. They’re happy to get them. I agree with Andrea’s comment on bringing the public in on this. I’ve got a bottle of painkillers I never used under my bathroom sink and I’d like to dump them – but not into our watershed.

Just a suggestion for the previous posters…check the Drug Enforcement Agency website at http://www.dea.gov
The DEA is coordinating a prescription drug take-back day on Saturday, September 25, 2010. At the website, enter your zipcode and you will be given a list of the nearest collection sites. Hope this helps.

I cheched with a pharmacy and inhalers can be dispensed of in the trash. Can injectable drugs be opened poured onto a gauze square placed in the trash and the vial placed into a sharps container?


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