So what are we supposed to do with old medicines if there's not a clean up campaign going on to collect them? I don't know the answer.
Earth Keeper team member Kelly Mathews of Big Bay, Michigan, and her husband Chris recently cleaned out their medicine cabinets and found one bottle of prescription sinus medication that was 18 years old.
"I wonder how many people would just pop open the pill container and flush the pills down the toilet," asked Mathews, a 36-year-old Roman Catholic mother of two.
The environmental impact of such actions has caused the Earth Keepers of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.) to focus this year’s Earth Day Clean Sweep on prescription medications, over-the-counter remedies, and other personal-care products.
About two dozen drop-off sites will be open from 9 a.m. to noon (CST) on April 21 for the free collection. Local churches from Houghton in the northwest to St. Ignace in the southeast are participating.
“As leftover and waste pharmaceuticals get flushed down drains, research is showing that they are increasingly being detected in our lakes and rivers at levels that could be causing harm to the environment and ecosystem," said Elizabeth LaPlante, senior manager for the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Great Lakes National Programs Office in Chicago, Illinois.
"Specifically, reproductive and development problems in aquatic species, hormonal disruption, and antibiotic resistance are some concerns associated with pharmaceuticals in our wastewater," she said.
Carl Lindquist, of the Superior Watershed Partnership, noted recent national studies documenting that more than 80 percent of the rivers sampled "tested positive for a range of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, birth control hormones, antidepressants, veterinary drugs and other medications."
Lindquist added that some urban centers have even detected "traces of pharmaceuticals in their tap water." EPA studies have shown that most municipal systems are not equipped to filter out these chemicals.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I came across an article today called "Earth Keepers encourage pharmaceutical collection for environmental protection" from Episcopal Life Online that really gave me pause: