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NY Sea Grant Coastal Education Specialist Helen Domske,
seen at right aboard a federal research vessel on Lake Ontario,
encourages citizens to properly dispose of unwanted
pharmaceuticals to help protect the Great Lakes and
other NY waters. Photo: NYSG
Buffalo, Newark, Oswego, NY; April 12, 2018. New York Sea Grant is encouraging the public to take expired, unused and unwanted pharmaceuticals to designated retail and law enforcement agency locations on National Take Back Day on April 28, 2018.

This federally-designated day for collection of waste pharmaceuticals prevents the entry of such products as antibiotics, blood pressure regulators, pain medications, tranquilizers, and hormones, into state waterways and drinking supply sources.

“Proper disposal of unused medications is critically important to protect the public drinking water supply and the Great Lakes ecosystem. Take Back Day sites accepting these pharmaceuticals provide easily accessible drop-off points so everyone can do their part to protect New York’s waters,” says New York Sea Grant Coastal Education Specialist Helen Domske, Buffalo, NY.

Domske is also the Associate Director of the Great Lakes Program at the State University of New York: University at Buffalo.

To find a 2018 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day authorized collection site, visit the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency National Take Back Day website at https://takebackday.dea.gov.  

The New York Sea Grant website has information about the impact of keeping pharmaceuticals and personal care products out of the Great Lakes and other water sources. The results of a two-year research project, funded by New York Sea Grant, to examine the effectiveness of advanced water treatment options, environmental levels, and the potential effects of pharmaceuticals in New York waters are expected later this year.

“Research is increasing our understanding of the impact of bioactive chemical substances on the aquatic food web. For example, research has recently documented the presence of antidepressants and their metabolites as well as antihistamines in fish such as largemouth bass, yellow perch, walleye and steelhead trout in the Niagara River. Although researchers believe the levels do not pose a threat to humans eating the fish, they are problematic and one of the reasons we do not want people to flush medicines down the toilet or drain,” Domske notes.

Earlier this year, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced a $2 million Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-Back initiative that officially begins in April 2018 with pharmacies, hospitals, long-term care facilities and other sites participating in the collection and proper disposal of the unwanted, unused pharmaceuticals. Learn more at on.ny.gov/rxpilot.  
National Prescription Drug Take Back Days take place twice a year, in the spring and fall. According to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, a record-setting collection of 912,305 pounds of expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs took place during the Fall 2017 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

New York Sea Grant maintains Great Lakes offices at SUNY Buffalo, Wayne County Cooperative Extension in Newark, and SUNY Oswego. For updates on New York Sea Grant activities, the www.nyseagrant.org website has RSS, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube links. 


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