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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pitch those pills safely: Upcoming collection event and safety tips

A common method of disposing of unwanted medication has been to flush it down the toilet or rinse it down the drain. But wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove these medicines from wastewater, so they may pass through the treatment process unchanged. When the treated water is released into the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie, it can still contain traces of these medicines.


Currently, the best way to dispose of unwanted medicine is to check for a local collection event. The Sewer District will host an Operation Medicine Cabinet pharmaceuticals collection this Saturday, April 30 at 4747 East 49th Street in Cuyahoga Heights from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


While some pharmacies may collect unused or outdated pharmaceuticals, you may choose to dispose of them at home, but keep the following tips in mind to protect your children or pets.

Steps should be taken to make it difficult for any person or animal to unintentionally ingest the medicine. Keep it in its original packaging. (These containers are often childproof and the labels may contain necessary information.) Use a marker to black out personal information.

Make pills unusable by crushing and dissolving them with a small amount of water. Absorb liquid medication with flour, table salt, or sawdust.

Secure any packaging with strong tape. Seal the package or dissolved liquid medication inside a non-recyclable, non-transparent container. Place this in with your household trash.

Taken from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's A healthy environment starts at home handbook.

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