An investigation by the Associated Press (AP) has drawn attention to the dumping of unused pharmaceuticals by the US’s 5,700 hospitals and 45,000 nursing homes. Based on records from 14 hospitals in Minnesota, the AP estimated that a minimum of 250 million pounds of drug waste are disposed of annually through sewer systems. Other sources of drug waste include doctors’ offices, veterinarians’ offices and correctional facilities. Residues from pharmaceutical waste have been tied to the contamination of drinking waters and adverse effects on wildlife. A March investigation by the AP of pharmaceutical residue in waterways resulted in government hearings and increased monitoring. The EPA is currently deciding whether to recommend a national standard for drug waste released by the medical industry, but a decision is not expected until 2009 at the earliest.

Source: AP

< | >