Don’t flush your medicines

9 Sep 2013


 A couple of years ago, the University of Michigan confirmed that it is a bad idea to put old medicines down the drain.  The State of Michigan agrees.  Here  is a link to the MDEQ’s website on this topic.

The MDEQ has announced its fourth annual September 10th event at the Capitol in Lansing, inviting the public to bring unused medications for proper disposal. For a list of what will and will not be accepted, visit

If you can’t get to the Capitol tomorrow, there are local programs in various places in the State and many pharmacies will take back old medicine for disposal as well (although this is not always widely advertised).  Here is a website that you can use to locate these take-back locations. If you have to put medications in the trash, here are instructions on how best to prepare them for disposal.

Why is flushing medicine a bad idea? Basically, our wastewater treatment system isn’t designed to filter out medicines.  The UM report talks about creating antibiotic resistant superbugs and there have been other reports about hormonal changes in fish, and finding traces of various prescription substances in drinking water (yes, what we flush can wind up in someone else’s drinking supply).

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