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Bill to keep drugs out of drinking water needs only Schwarzenegger’s signature

Thursday, October 04, 2007

by Joe Simitian

You got well faster than expected. You bought more medicine than you needed, and now it’s past the expiration date. Or you tried something and it didn’t work. Those leftover medications are sitting in your medicine chest, and they’re worse than just clutter. They’re hazardous household waste.

Getting rid of them responsibly requires, well, let me take you to the Web site of the California State Board of Pharmacy. It instructs: Keep the medicine in the original container. Scratch the personal information off the label. Put some water in with the pills, and also add sawdust, kitty litter, scouring cleanser or a spice, such as cayenne pepper. Seal it with duct tape. Put it in a box or envelope. Throw it in the trash.

Alternatively, you can drive across town to the local household hazardous waste disposal site.

Some California residents may be so conscientious and so desperate for a way to fill time that they will follow these guidelines. For the other 99.9 percent, the sink or the toilet are within arm’s reach of the medicine cabinet. Washed or flushed away, the medications will end up polluting a river, a lake or the bay.

Sitting on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk is a bill to make it easier for people to do the right thing. SB 966, which I introduced, would require the Integrated Waste Management Board to develop a plan, and test it in a statewide pilot program, for conveniently disposing of unused drugs.

Full story on San Jose Mercury News website