Take heed of California’s ‘No Drugs Down the Drain’ week


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Have bottles of old aspirin and prescription drugs cluttering up your medicine cabinet? Don’t flush them down the drain or you’ll be treating the fish and maybe even spicing up your drinking water.

Testing has shown that even advanced wastewater treatment doesn’t cleanse sewage of all traces of pharmaceuticals, which make their way into the environment and drinking water supplies. Most are excreted by people into sewage systems, but some are tossed directly down the toilet or poured down the drain.


As part of California’s ‘No Drugs Down the Drain’ week (Oct. 4-11), officials are suggesting other ways of disposing of unneeded or expired medication. Take it to a local hazardous waste collection site or seal it in a container and put it in the trash.

To discourage scavengers from rummaging through your garbage can for the drugs, Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts engineer Debbie Boadway has a few ideas: Mix it up with coffee grounds, used kitty litter or anything with a ‘yuck factor.’

-- Bettina Boxall