Pharmaceutical Products in Puget Sound
When unwanted or expired pharmaceutical products are rinsed down the drain or flushed down the toilet, they may end up in fresh and marine waters. While very low levels may not pose a risk to humans, they have been found to affect aquatic ecosystems. Scientists have linked pharmaceutical pollution in surface waters to endocrine effects in freshwater and marine species.
A survey conducted by the Washington Citizens for Resource Conservation (WCRC) found that 72% of Seattle-area households dispose of unwanted pharmaceuticals each year by flushing them down the toilet, rinsing them down the sink, or tossing them into the garbage. That same survey also found that 80% of households would return unwanted pharmaceutical products to their local pharmacy if a secure location was set up for that purpose.
To address this problem in the Northwest Straits, Snohomish County MRC is partnering with WCRC and others to create a simple, low cost and secure system to collect unwanted medications from households and small quantity sources. Snohomish County MRC will play an important role educating citizens on the potential impact of pharmaceuticals in surface waters. Citizens will be encouraged to drop off unwanted products at local pharmacies where they can be collected for incineration.