The State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) reports that low levels of pharmaceuticals are present nearly everywhere in our environment. Unused medications are known to enter our environment through excretion from animals and humans, disposal of unused drugs in toilets or landfills, and wastewater treatment systems. Further, the DEQ says that most wastewater treatment plants are not equipped to effectively remove pharmaceutical drugs from the water. Although there is no known threat to human health at the low levels currently found, some scientists believe that improper disposal poses a threat to human health, especially when considering the amount of ongoing discharges and the increasing use of pharmaceuticals.

What can we do about it? The DEQ has the following recommendations:

Should you have any questions or want any more information on disposing of unused medicine, please contact the DEQ Environmental Assistance Center at (800) 662-9278.