May 12 - Don't Dump Old Medicine in Toilet

Environment Writer Jane Kay of the San Francisco Chronicle writes about the importance of the safe disposal for unwanted medicines, which can end up in sewage treatment plants not made to handle the medicines and other chemicals in consumer products. Eventually the medicines end up in the bay, ocean or sludge used for landfill cover. Treatment districts hope to develop a drop-off program similar to those for hazardous and electronic waste for unwanted medicine in the future.

The Tylenol, antibiotics, ibuprofen and Prozac that people toss into the toilet or down the drain may be flowing straight to the bay and contaminating fish, warn local sewage treatment officials who want to stop it.

Sewage plant operators who have curtailed everything from industrial waste to household chemicals and pesticides and mercury from dental offices are now trying to reduce pharmaceuticals from homes by offering a safer disposal method for unwanted pills.

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This weekend is the kick off for Safe Medicine Disposal Days in the Bay Area this month. Check out the location for drop-offs anf more information at