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Impact of Prescription Drugs on the Environment

IMPACTOF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS ON THE ENVIRONMENT Prescription drugs are affecting the water supply and wildlife: Unmetabolized drugs are excreted from our bodies and enter the sewer system, rivers or lakes. However, sewoage treatment plants do not have the capacity to completely remove all the drugs from the water; consequently traces of drugs enter the water supply, where they affect wildlife, and have the potential to affect millions of people. Drugs can enter the water from a multitude of sources, including: 1. Washing, bathing and showering, where shampoo, and fragrant lotions and oils are rinsed down the soap, drain. 2. Excreted or expired drugs may be flushed down the toilet and enter the sewer. 3. Swimming in lakes and rivers, where sunscreens and body lotions may be washed off into the water. An investigation into the effects of contraception on fish has shown that hormones that make their way into the water cause female fish to produce fewer eggs, or in some cases no eggs at all. In addition, these hormones also reduce sperm production and cause irregular behaviour in male fish. The long term outlook is that fish populations will rapidly decline in areas with a high level of hormones introduced via contraceptives in the water. 4. Veterinary treatment of animals; or from hormones used in agricultural practices. 5. Hospital waste, or directly from the waste of pharmaceutical manufacturing plants. The EPA has suggested that PPCP's (pharmaceutical and personal care products) have been identified in most places sampled. Environmental impacts from processes carried out by the pharmaceutical industry stem from: VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions from: Solvent residues in wastewater from: Reactors 2 phase separations Separation Wet scrubbers Solid wastes (often containing solvent residues) from extractive operations Particulate emissions from grinding and polishing operations Waste produced in tons per year by subsector: Subsector VOC NOX НАР Medicinals and Botanicals 5,140 8,118 630 Pharmaceutical Preparations 7,997 6,558 4,287 Diagnostic Substances 20 17 18 VOC = volatile organic compounds NOX = Nitrogen oxides HAP = Hazardous air pollutants Biological Products 10 57 46 Total, pharmaceutical subsectors 13,484 14,739 4,945 In the US, the USGS carried out an extensive study of the pharmaceuticals in surface waters. The nationwide reconnaissance study surveyed 139 streams throughout the United States in locations that were thought to be susceptible to contamination from agriculture or urban activities. The USGS analysed water samples from waterways for 95 organic chemicals usually found in waste water. In 80% of the samples analysed, one or more of the pharmaceuticals were detected (albeit in very low concentrations). Examples of medications found included: 24 Of samples analysed found Acetaminophen 11 Of samples analysed found Codeine |% Of samples analysed found Antibiotics and Antimicrobials such as Erythromycin, Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim. Of samples analysed found Antibiotics and Antimicrobials such as Erythromycin, Sulfamethoxazole and Trimethoprim. 16 10 13 Of samples analysed found Diltiazem (blood pressure medication) Almost all the vultures in Asia have ied – only 3% In 2004, the culprit was discovered: Vultures are highly sensitive to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory diclofenac. Exposure to a few miligrams is enough to cause catastrophic kidney failure. According to Birdlife International, "as few as 760 carcasses containing diclofenac at a dose lethal to vultures would be sufficient to cause the observed decline in vulture numbers (30% per year). Clearly, even small-scale usage of the drug can have catastrophic consequences." In India, bacteria resistant to ciprofloxacin have been found downstream pharmaceutical plants, genes for multi resistance were found in drinking water, and multi resistant Salmonella in water sprayed on vegetables. From Europe we know about the epidemic with multi resistant EHEC in summer 2011, originating from water sprayed vegetables. FDA Recommendations: Safe Disposal of Drugs and Medications Based on avVailable data, the FDA believes that the known risk of harm to humans from accidental exposure to these medicines far outweighs any potential risk to the environment from flushing them.Disposal of certain medicines by flushing contributes only a small fraction of the total amount medicine found in the water, given that most medicine found in the water supply is a direct result of normal bodily elimination (in urine and feces) after patient use. Follow any disposal instructions found on the label of your medication. Do not flush prescriptions down the toilet, unless specifically instructed to do so Take advantage of drug-take-back programs where the general public is allowed to return unused drugs for disposal When in doubt about proper disposal, talk to your pharmacist. If no instructions are given on the drug label and no take-back program is available in your area, throw the drugs in the household trash, but first: Scratch out all personal information on the prescription bottle to make it unreadable Pour the drugs into a sturdy, sealable sandwich bag or plastic container. Mix in unappealing susbstances such as coffee grounds, kitty litter or sawdust. Frequently abused medications such as painkillers and AND medications should be disposed of in the sink or toilet. Published by Sources and more information: Design by

Impact of Prescription Drugs on the Environment

shared by Drugsdb on Jul 03
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Prescription drugs can affect the environment in numerous ways. From the time production begins until long after they are consumed, harmful chemicals have numerous opportunities to affect the soil, ai...



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