Children's Health & Safety Association

Issue 43: July 2018

Friday, 31 May 2013 15:54

Improper Disposal of Pharmaceuticals

Written by 

cleanwater2Did you know that traces of pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment, primarily in surface water, groundwater, drinking water and soil?

One of the ways pharmaceuticals enter our environment is by consumers throwing medications (prescription drugs and non-prescription/over-the-counter drugs), and other personal care products into the garbage, or flushing them down the toilet or down the sink.  

While water treatment is effective, minute quantities of pharmaceuticals end up in both lakes and rivers, or they end up as part of biosolids that are typically disposed through land applications.  Pharmaceuticals disposed in landfills can also end up in our water.  Landfill liners can leak, and release (leachate) a liquid that contains harmful substances, which will contaminate local ground water.

While the potential human health risks associated with minute levels of pharmaceuticals in water and drinking water (in particular) is small, taking preventative action by disposing of pharmaceuticals safely helps protect our drinking water sources over the long term.

OCWA & Clean Water Foundation are Working Together to Protect Drinking Water Sources

Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) has teamed up with Clean Water Foundation to encourage citizens to take unwanted and unused medications to your local pharmacy where they can be disposed of safely.  Not only does this help contribute to a clean environment, it also decreases instances of accidental poisoning by children and prescription drug abuse.  One of the leading causes of child and teen overdose is through unused or expired medications in medicine cabinets.

The 3 Do's of Pharmaceuticals

  • Finish your prescriptions, as directed by your physician.
  • Store your prescriptions out of reach of children and out of sight of teenagers.
  • Take unwanted and unused medications to your local pharmacy for proper disposal.


clean-water3The Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) works hard to ensure you always have access to clean, safe drinking water in your community. They employ the right people, know-how and technologies so you can have confidence in the water coming out of your tap.


clean-water4OCWA, a Crown Agency of the Province of Ontario, has been providing, safe, reliable and cost-effective clean water services across the province for 20 years. For more information visit www.ocwa.com

Clean Water Foundation is a Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to engaging individuals in actions that preserve, protect and improve our water. They work in partnership with public, private and charitable interests to create policies and programs that encourage water friendly behaviours. For more information, visit www.cleanwaterfoundation.org

The information above is courtesy of 'Ontario Clean Water Agency' and 'Clean Water Foundation', and edited by Veronika Bradley, Children's Health and Safety Association.

More Information:

For more information on national and international organizations that are committed to protecting our water resources, click on the links below.

 clean-water5Canada Water Network's mission is to nurture partnerships that mobilize multidisciplinary research excellence by catalyzing innovation and providing practical, implementable solutions to complex, water resource, management issues. CWN convenes government, industry and non-governmental partners around core challenges and connects them with leading knowledge that addresses the practical realities of water management.

clean-water6Living Lakes is an international network of non-government associations. Their mission is to improve the protection, restoration and rehabilitation of lakes, wetlands and watersheds throughout the world. Established in 1998 by Global Nature Fund in Germany Living Lakes now has a partnership of over 75 environmental organizations representing 65 lakes and wetlands worldwide.

Living Lakes national networks have been developed in China, Italy and Germany, and regional networks have been established for Eastern Europe, Latin America and Eastern Africa. These networks promote cooperation among groups striving to protect their lakes, rivers, wetlands and watersheds, and support projects in the field of eco-tourism, organic agriculture, sustainable fisheries, renewable energy, protection and preservation of biodiversity and community development.

 clean-water7The Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation is a private, philanthropic foundation based in Toronto, Canada. The Foundation undertakes research, leadership development, and public dialogue so that public policies in Canada reflect a commitment to collaborative stewardship of our freshwater resources and to a people-driven, equitable and evolving North. Over the past quarter century the Gordon Foundation has invested over $27 million in a wide variety of Northern community initiatives and freshwater protection initiatives.

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Children's Health and Safety Association's mission is to provide up-to-date health and safety information for every concerned parent.  We believe the most effective way of instilling positive change for children is through awareness and information programs.


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