According to Health Canada, “when prescription or over-the-counter drugs are thrown into the garbage, or flushed down the sink or toilet, their chemical components may be added to the water supply or soil. The presence of these substances in the environment is becoming an important national and international issue. Although the concentration levels of these products in the environment may be very low, they may be enough to have adverse effects on the environment and, indirectly, on human health. Of particular concern are the potential adverse effects of cumulative, long-term exposure to trace amounts and mixtures of pharmaceuticals on vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, newborns, and children”. (Source: Health Canada)
In addition, a nationwide study done in 1999 and 2000 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) found low levels of drugs such as antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives and steroids in 80% of the rivers and streams tested. (Source: www.health.harvard.edu)
Based on all these facts, you would believe that nobody would want to flush or throw their meds in the garbage. But, studies show that some people still haven’t gotten the message.
In 2009, 39% of Canadian households reported that they had leftover or expired medication to dispose of
57% of these households returned the medication to the supplier or retailer for disposal
A further 6% took or sent them to a depot or drop-off centre
22% put their leftover or expired medication in the garbage
8% poured them down the drain or sewer, flushed them down the toilet or poured them on the ground
15% still had the medication when they were asked the question
(Source: Statistics Canada)
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