Monday, March 8, 2010
It used to be common wisdom to flush unused medication down the toilet, but much of the time those pharmaceuticals end up in rivers and tap water. Michael Stepaniak of the Southwestern PA Households Hazardous Waste Task Force says waste water treatment plants just aren't equipped to deal with complex pharmaceutical compounds and cannot filter them out of the water. He also notes that throwing them away isn't a viable solution either since they tend to leach into the soil and groundwater in landfills. Stepaniak says the issue is particularly pronounced in the Pittsburgh region with its high population of senior citizens. He notes that when an elderly person moves into an assisted living center or passes away, frequently relatives will end up with bottles and bottles of old medication that they don't know what to do with. To that end, the Task Force is holding an Allegheny county pharmaceutical collection event where people can drop off unused human and veterinary meds, which will eventually be incinerated. The collection requires preregistration through swpahhw.org, a three dollar fee and takes place May 15 at the Hampton Community Center.