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The "Medicine Cabinet Cleanout:" a Rx for Cleaner, safer Water


  • Next "Medicine Cabinet Cleanout:" April 23, 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. Christiana Care Hospital, E-Tower, Newark.

Medicine Cabinet Cleanout poster plus datesSponsored by a cost-share grant from DNREC's Pollution Prevention (P2) program, the Delaware Nursing Association’s Nurses Healing Our Planet in April 2008 staged the state's the first-ever "Medicine Cabinet Cleanout." The nurses collected over 43,000 pills in less than four hours at the Newark Senior Center.

All of the medication collected at the event was properly disposed of - instead of possibly ending up in Delaware's surface or ground waters, which is often the case when old prescriptions are discarded.

The nurses association is sponsoring the Medicine Cabinet Cleanout for a second year, with the next event taking place April 23 at Christiana Care Hospital in Newark, in the E-Tower, from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. The cleanout offers another a chance for citizens to get outdated pharmaceuticals out of their medicine cabinets and properly disposed of without jeopardizing local water quality.

Nurses Healing Our Planet, an environmental task force of the Delaware Nurses Association, and the DNREC P2 program invite residents of these communities to bring in all unwanted prescriptions and over-the-counter medications - as well as vitamins, inhalers, eye and ear drops, veterinary pills and other liquid medications in their original containers. 

The Delaware Nurses Assn.'s "Nurses Healing Our Planet" task force has spearheaded the Medicine Cabinet Cleanout

At Medicine Cabinet Cleanout events, all pharmaceuticals brought in are disposed of in an environmentally safe manner. This disposal approach comes after evidence emerged that flushing them away is the wrong way to remove unwanted drugs from your home or office. According to the Associated Press, some drugs "resist modern drinking water and wastewater treatment processes."

The same AP investigation disclosed that "a vast array of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones" have been found in the drinking water supplies of more than 40 million Americans. Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that no sewage treatment systems are specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals.

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