Nicole, Communications Coordinator discussed on Sunday Magazine
To identify your medication and properly follow the prescribed dosage joining the discussion at this time is miss Nicole conned and who was the water communications coordinator with DC water. in addition to managing water marketing and communications she develops drinking water notifications in the event of water quality issues or emergencies she is also chair woman for the metropolitan Washington community engagement campaign committee which she addresses water conservation tap water promotion and source water protection miss Nicole content welcome to veterans and community health Sunday magazine thanks Gloria so you know this is been really a good topic we've helped the community understand medication safety now give us a little bit about how it affects the environment what are the environmental and public health concerns associated with improper disposal of medications or personal care products so in the recent past it was widely considered safe to flash some of these medications down the toilet or pour them down the drain when they're expired or when you're finished using them and there's leftover medication and of course the reason behind that was that you want to make sure that those medications are not available for kids or animals to get into or perhaps people that are intentionally trying to abuse those medications and so folks were thinking let's just get them out of the house and that's the easiest way to do it but now what we're finding is that these low levels of pharmaceuticals and other personal care products are being found at again at very low levels in some of our drinking water supplies as well as other water bodies like lakes and rivers and so the health of facts and also the effects on the environment on aquatic life remain uncertain and we're we're trying to learn more about it but of course the best course of action where we're seeing now is just to prevent those items from getting into the water sources. what efforts are underway to learn more about the ways that chemicals interact with our environment so there is a lot of research that is currently under way by both water utilities and regulatory agencies also research institutions were all partnering together to try and learn more about this issue we are regulated by the environmental protection agency I'm part of their rule making process involves looking at compounds and contaminants that are not currently regulated so that is really where they're looking at this whole this whole category in group of these types of chemicals and compounds that come from pharmaceuticals and personal care products so we just finished a research program called the unregulated contaminate monitoring program where we were looking at about thirty different compounds that are not currently regulated by the EPA but we're looking to see what concentration we are seeing in our source water as well as are treated water to learn more about them and help the EPA decide if they need to be regulated so that is that our national program DC water participated in that in two thousand fourteen along with about six thousand other water utilities in the country wow so major efforts behind its it's it's important what medication disposal methods do water utilities recommend for customers so if the option is there we recommend that folks use drug take back locations and and told recently of the drug enforcement agency did have a a national take back program a few times a year law enforcement officials and local jurisdictions would partner with utilities and government organizations to get the word out about these take back days national take back days that program recently ended but we are looking regionally and the metropolitan in the washing metropolitan region to try and do more of those. take back days and so we will be sharing that information as we get organized around new promotions for those locations and take back days in the area and so that is always the first and best you know recommendation that we have is that that's not a if that's not a possibility then we recommend folks basically put those medications and the trash but we recommend that they put them in something that is undesirable like coffee grounds or Katie later in a sealed bag and of course you know if you have a pill bottle go ahead and scratch off your personal identification information and then through those medications and the trash as opposed to flushing them down the toilet or putting them down you're saying you just brought up on something that makes me pause for a second on environment and I'll turn to Dr secrets for this two things doctors he has one is speaking scratching off your personal information before discarding medications especially prescribe medications in the trash can is that something that we are reminding people to do to protect their personal information I don't know if that's actually being done out in the community but it is definitely recommended that she would make sure to discard or cover up any of your personal information if you were to throw things into the trash can that is an important point to note yeah you know I'm just sitting here thinking myself you know I sometimes will hills is a bit of the label off but I don't know if I'm leaving you know some portion of some important information there are not so that's a good point for our listeners to remember that you do have a personal information on your labels and to discard them also doctor thief is by chance our pharmaceuticals or farm of Washington pharmaceuticals but it's the pharmacies our pharmacies looking to put notices on medication bags to possibly help in the. environmental efforts to warn against improper medication disposal could there be some warning on the backs it say you know remember our if you know you don't complete this medication or if there's excess if it expires dispose of it properly so that's a very good question and I've actually talked to a few colleagues about this and from what I'm saying it doesn't seem like there that information is out there now I will say that pharmacist individually will counsel patients sometimes in that relate this information to them and to the same point of patients coming to ask their health care provider some of these questions your pharmacist would be able to help you one pharmacist said that they thought that the profession does need to be moving going that direction and hopes to see something coming soon about that well you know we are the Washington DC VA Medical Center you know we like best practices we like to lead the way that's something we might can look at within.