Methods of DisposalTo flush or not to flush, that is the question… GreenPharmEdu.org
Flush vs No Flush The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) gives a synopsis of federal guidelines regarding proper drug disposal: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/pdf/prescrip_disposal.pdf The ONDCP website refers to the FDA website for drugs that are approved to be flushed in the toilet or sink.
Flush vs No Flush The FDA offers advice on which drugs are considered okay to flush and which drugs require alternative disposal methods. Per the FDA certain medicines may be especially harmful and, in some cases, fatal in a single dose if they are used by someone other than the person the medicine was prescribed for. For this reason, a few medicines have special disposal directions that indicate they should be flushed down the sink or toilet after the medicine is no longer needed.
MEDICINES RECOMMENDED FOR DISPOSAL BY FLUSHING cont.
MEDICINES RECOMMENDED FOR DISPOSAL BY FLUSHING cont. *These medicines have generic versions available or are only available in generic formulations. List revised: March 2010
Concerns with flushing - FDA Disposal of these select, few medicines by flushing contributes only a small fraction of the total amount medicine found in the water. FDA believes that any potential risk to people and the environment from flushing this small, select list of medicines is outweighed by the real possibility of life-threatening risks from accidental ingestion of these medicines.
Concerns with flushing - EPA The EPA refers to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy consumer guidance for the proper disposal of prescription drugs, released in February of 2007. EPA states that studies have shown that pharmaceuticals are present in some of our nation's waterbodies. Further research suggests that there may be some ecological harm when certain drugs are present. To date, no evidence has been found of human health effects from PPCPs in the environment. The EPA continues to advise that sewage systems are not equipped for PCPP removal and that the risks from these low level contaminants on human and wildlife are unknown
Concerns with flushing – California Board of Pharmacy Advises against flushing. The website states several reasons why to use alternative methods of disposal: A recent study shows that 80 percent of US streams contain small amounts of human medicines. Sewage systems cannot remove these medicines from water that is released into lakes, rivers or oceans. Fish and other aquatic animals have shown adverse effects from medicines in the water. And, even very small amounts of medicine have been found in drinking water. The California Board of Pharmacy makes several suggestions on how to dispose of unwanted/unused medications in the home. This will be covered later in this module
Concerns with flushing -SmarxtDisposal Advocates for responsible medication disposal and advises against flushing. Smarxt Disposal is a collaboration between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the American Pharmacists Association and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America to educate the public how to properly dispose of medication, keeping lives safe and protecting our natural resources. http://www.smarxtdisposal.net/
DISPOSAL ADVICE - FDA The FDA states that it is important to note that disposal by flushing is not recommended for the vast majority of medicines. Unused or expired medicines that do not have flushing directions in the label can be disposed of safely in the household trash by: Mixing them with something that will hide the medicine or make it unappealing, such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds. Placing the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag. Throwing the container in your household trash. The FDA also mentions drug take-back programs and consulting with pharmacists regarding this issue. They also refer the public to a website DailyMed which allows anyone to find disposal instructions on any medication.
DISPOSAL ADVICE - EPA The US EPA also refers to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy for proper drug disposal: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/pdf/prescrip_disposal.pdf The US EPA makes reference to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in regards to regulation of the disposal of unused pharmaceuticals. The EPA states that the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is a federal law controlling the management and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes produced by a wide variety of industries and sources and that RCRA does not regulate any household waste, which includes medications/ pharmaceutical waste generated in a household.
DISPOSAL ADVICE - EPA While discarded pharmaceuticals under the control of consumers are not regulated by RCRA, EPA encourages the public: To take advantage of pharmaceutical take-back programs or household hazardous waste collection programs that accept pharmaceuticals If there are no take-back programs near you: - contact your state and local waste management authorities (the disposal of household waste is primarily regulated on the state and local levels) with questions about discarding unused pharmaceuticals, whether or not these materials meet the definition of hazardous waste - follow any specific disposal instructions that may be printed on the label or accompanying patient information
DISPOSAL ADVICE – CALIFORNIA BOARD OF PHARMACY Home trash disposal: Keep medicine in its original child proof container and mark out all personal identifiable information. Add water to solid medications i.e. pills and capsules followed by adding a non-toxic substance. Some suggestions are kitty litter, coffee grounds, charcoal or powdered spices. Seal lids with packing or duct tape. Use multiple layers of duct tape for blister packs. Place the tape sealed bottles or blister packs in durable packaging that camouflages what is inside. Place in trash close to garbage pick-up time. Pharmacy Take-Back programs: Ask if pharmacy will accept medicines from patients Household Hazardous Waste Collection: Find the phone number of your local HHW collection site in the government section of your local white pages of the telephone directory.
Chemo drugs and disposal Excretion of chemotherapeutics via sweat is well established, but its overall significance as a secondary exposure route for others is not. But with respect to unanticipated exposure, this route of excretion holds the potential for promoting subsequent incidental exposures for others and poses higher risks than for other drugs because of the extreme cytotoxicity and mutagenicity of oncolytics. Excretion via sweat undoubtedly also plays a role in the development of hypersensitivity to certain other drugs since it ensures skin contact with drugs not intended for dermal application.
Chemo drugs and disposal cont. Occupational exposure to anti-neoplastic agents has been well-documented, especially direct exposure from the compounding, preparation, administration, and disposal of these highly toxic chemicals. Of the many routes of exposure, however, the excretion of residues via sweat (and breathing) of patients has been less understood.
Chemo drugs and disposal cont. Other studies provide strong indirect evidence that sweat conveys chemotherapeutics outside the body. These studies have focused on studies of occupational exposure, where bedding becomes contaminated and serves as a route of exposure for healthcare workers and especially those working outside hospitals, such as homecare providers; workers in laundry facilities were noted as having the potential for higher exposures to antineoplastics than oncology nurses during the handling of bed sheets.
Chemo drugs and disposal cont. To reinforce this, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides a technical manual that outlines how to handle exposure to these antineoplastics and the contaminated waste associated with administration, preparation and casual contact. This technical manual also addresses how to decontaminate surfaces of items such as cups and plate wear and the potential exposure from excrement and urine of patients receiving chemotherapy. The manual also gives guidelines on how to handle soiled bedding of chemotherapy patients. This manual can be accessed at: http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_vi/otm_vi_2.html
Chemo drugs and disposal cont. Alternatively, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Cancer Institute provides a brief information sheet specifically for patients and caregivers: http://www.upmc.com/HealthAtoZ/patienteducation/Documents/ChemotherapyWaste.pdf. Another emerging issue is the trend towards dermal application of drugs increasing the probability of drugs being introduced into the environment from bathing to discarding the used delivery devices which contain very high levels of residues.
Other Methods of Disposal Drop off at local waste facilities: The EPA encourages the use of pharmaceutical take-back programs alternatively over drop-off at waste facilities. If take back programs are unavailable to the consumer the EPA has compiled a list of state and local waste management authorities by state. Please see: http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/wyl/stateprograms.htm Take back programs Pharmacy-based Community based Mail based