The Negative Effects of Flushing Unused Medications Down the Drain

What do you do when you find an expired bottle of pills in your medicine cabinet? If you’re like many Americans, you immediately flush the medication down the toilet. Unfortunately, studies have found that this is a very dangerous method of medication disposal and it can lead to serious ramifications for the world outside of your home. What happens when you finish flushing unused medications and they are carried away in the pipes?

Our Waste Doesn’t Disappear

What happens to chemicals, waste and prescription medications when they leave your home in the water? They don’t just vanish when they are out of your sight. Instead, they can enter the streams and water through wastewater discharges. One study from the U.S. Geological Survey used samples from 139 streams across 30 states in 2000 to examine what was entering them. One of the most surprising results of the study was that steroids, nonprescription drugs and insect repellant were the chemical groups found most frequently.

What Are the Consequences of Flushing Unused Medications Down the Toilet?

More recent studies have found that some of the $328.6 billion worth of prescription drugs used annually are not filtered out at the sewage treatment facilities and can enter the waterways directly. Some of these medications, like steroids, have led to serious problems when frogs and fish consume them. In some bodies of water, scientists have found fish and aquatic species with serious reproductive defects due to taking in hormones, antidepressants, steroids and endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs). In addition, some of the water that was treated but still contains chemicals could make it into your drinking water.

What Should You Do to Dispose of Unused Medications?

  • Place the medication in something that you can tightly seal and throw it away in the garbage. Black out all personal information on the empty prescription bottle to protect your privacy before throwing it away.
  • Check with your local police department and municipal center to see if there is a take-back option available. Some police departments have drop boxes open 24/7 where you can place your unused prescription medications to be permanently destroyed.
  • Contact your local trash and recycling facility to determine the best method for disposing of any inhaler products that could be hazardous if burned or punctured during the traditional disposal process.

How to Protect Your Family from Contaminated Water from Flushing Unused Medications

The best method for protecting your family is always investing in high-quality water filtration. The Hague WaterMax® combined with reverse osmosis is a professional-grade water filtration solution that can remove contaminants like unused medications, sediment and dirt from your home’s water supply. Not sure what is in your water? Hague Quality Water of Maryland can assist with the testing process and make recommendations to ensure that your family is only drinking fresh, clean and healthy drinking water.

The Hague WaterMax® offers additional benefits beyond wellness, as it eliminates hard water and the side effects associated with using it. You will get more lather from your soaps and detergents, plumbing and appliance maintenance costs will decrease and you won’t need to rely on bottled water to have peace of mind about what you’re drinking. Never worry about poor quality water from flushing unused medications again with filtration solutions from Hague Quality Water of Maryland.

Have Peace of Mind About Your Home Water Quality with Hague Quality Water of Maryland

If your family is concerned about contaminants from flushing unused medications in your home’s water supply, we are here to help with your water improvement projects. Whether you need the Hague WaterMax® combined with reverse osmosis or additional filtration beyond that, our team cares deeply about the health and safety of your family.  To get started with a water test today, click here. For additional assistance, call Hague Quality Water of Maryland at (410) 757-2992.


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