Recent reports have shown that New York State rivers and streams and drinking-water supplies in a number of American cities contain traces of an array of medicines. These reports indicate that pharmaceuticals, including antibiotics, can be found in the drinking-water supplies of 41 million Americans.
At least 24 major metropolitan areas in the U.S. have been identified as having traces of pharmaceuticals in drinking-water supplies. Scientists say pharmaceuticals get into water in a variety of ways: individuals and institutions flush unused drugs; unabsorbed drugs pass through the human body; pharmaceuticals may not be completely decomposed in septic tanks and drug manufacturers discharge pharmaceutical wastes. Wastewater treatment plants are not specifically designed to eliminate these types of chemicals, so treatment of municipal and industrial discharge is not the entire answer. Drinking-water treatment plants don't necessarily remove all drug residues either.
In response to this issue, DEC has launched the "Don't Flush Your Drugs" campaign. Under this campaign, DEC will take steps to educate the public about the potential hazards of pharmaceuticals in water systems and about the proper disposal of unused drugs. Instead of flushing medicines, residents should place their unused, unwanted or expired drugs in the trash, taking care to destroy or disguise them to prevent their misuse or misdirection. Adding water, salt, ashes or coffee grounds to unused medications before placing them in the trash can further guard against misuse. Detailed instructions and suggestions are available online.
Click on Title link to view entire article. Source: NYS EnvironmentDEC