Laura Erickson's For the Birds

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Don't flush prescription medicines!

Help make sure the fish herons eat aren't contaminated with hormones or other drugs!

Here's something I should have included in my 101 Ways to Help Birds: Dispose of unused prescription meds properly. When we flush them down the toilet or wash them down the drain, they don't break down via the normal sewage treatment processes, so they work their way into natural (or increasingly unnatural)waters. Here in Duluth, our Western Lake Superior Sanitary District is hosting a free drop off, and providing information about the proper ways to dispose of old medicines. Today's Duluth News Tribune has the story. It notes:

Studies have shown surprisingly high levels of some drugs pass through sewage treatment plants and into waterways, where they also have been found in fish...

To dispose of medications at other times [than the free drop-off time], officials suggest rendering the drugs unusable, such as mixing them with a small amount of water, then wrapping them tightly and throwing them in the trash.

For more information, go to www.pca. maceuticals.cfm.