Pharmaceutical Waste in Water Supply

The press release below was issued by the State of Illinois. They are talking about this issue.   


Illinois EPA hosts Pharmaceutical Summit and Conference 


Stakeholder groups work on ways of reducing pharmaceuticals and personal care products in drinking water


SPRINGFIELD—As part of its overall efforts to ensure that citizen’s of Illinois continue to have high quality and safe sources of drinking water, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency Director Doug Scott Wednesday convened a Summit at the University of Illinois at Springfield to discuss ways to reduce the amounts of pharmaceuticals and personal care products being discharged into waters of the state that ultimately become a source of drinking water. More than 100 representatives of health care providers, pharmacists and pharmaceutical manufacturers, public water supplies, wastewater treatment agencies, local, county and state governments, environmental and watershed protection and agricultural advocates participated in today’s “Meds with Water, not in Water” conference. They were urged to participate in a new initiative, Medication Education Disposal Solutions or MEDS, which will focus on expanding public awareness and opportunities for environmentally responsible disposition of unwanted or expired medications and personal care products. “While there is more research needed on the impact of pharmaceuticals and personal care products on both people and aquatic life, we know there are effective actions we can take now to significantly reduce the quantities of them getting into our waterways and lakes,” said Director Scott. Illinois EPA and other environmental agencies are still learning about potential health effects.  Data collected thus far show only minute traces of pharmaceuticals and chemicals from personal care products that end up in finished drinking water. However, as the big baby boomer generation ages and the population grows, more of these chemicals are used. Director Scott urged conference attendees today to put Illinois “ahead of the curve” by participating in new coalitions and public-private partnerships to get the word out to not flush medications down the drain and to increase pharmaceutical collection and drop-off options. In addition, as technology improves, scientists are able to detect more minute amounts of the chemicals, increasing our awareness of what we are ingesting with our drinking water. The Illinois EPA is looking to the experts and stakeholders to aid it in next steps, but more importantly, to enlist their support in implementing education and outreach programs. The Agency will collect the suggestions and recommendations of the Summit attendees and compile them into guidance documents for other interested parties to use in their pharmaceutical reduction efforts.


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