Oregon to participate in unused/expired medications collection for 'proper' disposal.
Thursday, April 28, 2011 - 19:35
On April 30, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality will be collecting unwanted or expired medications to be disposed of in a "proper manner" as part of the second annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. Oregon has designated 57 collection events for this date across the state.
As more studies have been published, bringing public attention to the detrimental effects discarded medications have on the environment when they make their way into landfills and water systems, the Oregon government has been working with the nation to create avenues through which citizens can dispose of their unused and expired medications properly.
On September 25, 2010, a similar Oregon collection event brought in 6,786 pounds of unwanted medicine, according to The Oregonian's environmental news page. The article goes on to list the statistic that in March 2010, in Oregon's first statewide drive to collect unwanted medications, more than 4,000 pounds were collected. That is a huge amount of medication when you consider how little one pill weighs.
The question we are left with is what is considered proper disposal. According to The Oregonian, this usually consists of burning the medications (at a facility in Brooks). It seems that by saving the medications from going directly into our soil or water, we may still be polluting other areas of the environment such as air quality and atmosphere. If this is the only alternative to the medications being flushed down toilets or thrown into landfills, we may need to rethink whether this "proper" disposal is actually a solution to the problem in the long run.
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