In a recent study, 28 of 70 drinking water samples contained traces of pharmaceutical drugs.
Long Islanders may want to be wary of their water after a report released Monday said trace amounts of pharmaceutical drugs end up in the island’s water supply.
The Citizen campaign for the environment, a nonprofit, non-partisan advocacy organization, studied 70 drinking water samples from 61 different wells and found that 28 of the samples contained a “small but measurable amount of pharmaceutically active compounds.”
For decades the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) advocated for the disposal of unused drugs by flushing them down the toilet. It was only recently that water studies revealed that our filtration systems do not properly filter pharmaceuticals and are returned to local aquifers to be mixed with drinking water.
Instead, the EPA and DEC recommend participating in medication take-back programs, which hold collection days for people to bring in leftover medications. For those who don’t want to wait, Suffolk County has set up 24-hour safes at police stations to get rid of their old drugs.
Perhaps more alarming is that the Citizens Campaign for the Environment also released a press release from a study which found that 51% of Suffolk County hospitals are long-term care facilities and nursing homes were guilty of emptying unused or expired pharmaceuticals.
Under Suffolk County Law 2011-1042, all hospitals, hospices, nursing homes and long-term care facilities in the county must submit a written plan outlining how they will dispose of unused or expired medication – which must be respectful of the environment. consciously. Yet more than half of establishments are serving controlled substances and 2% admitted to serving uncontrolled substances
The group is advocating for Suffolk County to ban flushing and provide a means for all drugs to be sent to a facility for incineration. Until the legislature can be passed, the Citizens Campaign for the Environment advocates for the New York State Bureau of Narcotics to update policies for healthcare facilities and for healthcare workers and residents receive educational training on how to properly dispose of pharmaceuticals.