Marine News from the Great Lakes

October 28 - Keep Unwanted Pharmaceuticals Out of the Great Lakes

Published: Wednesday, October 25, 2017

On Saturday, October 28, from 10 am to 2 pm, collection sites across the US will accept unused, expired and unwanted pharmaceuticals from individuals. The "Keep Unwanted Medications and Chemicals Out of the Great Lakes" guide, written by New York Sea Grant Coastal Education Specialist Helen Domske, tells why people should find a site nearby to return the unwanted drugs.

Researchers are increasingly documenting the impact of the bioactive chemical substances found in pharmaceuticals and personal care products on the aquatic environment.

"Based on what that research has shown, we do not want people flushing unwanted and unused medicines down the drain or toilet," Domske said.

The guide by Domske includes tips on how citizens can help reduce the impact of such substances as antibiotics, antidepressants, contraceptives, hormones, and vitamins on the Great Lakes resource that provides drinking water to 42 million people in the US and Canada, and serves as habitat for a host of aquatic life.

A two-year research project funded by New York Sea Grant is underway to examine the effectiveness of advanced water treatment options, environmental levels, and the potential effects of pharmaceuticals in New York waters. That project will conclude in 2018.

To find a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day collection site, the website at has a link to the list of US Drug Enforcement Agency authorized sites.

Click here to find a location near you.


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 website has RSS, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube links.


New York Sea Grant is a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, and one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Through a statewide network of integrated services, New York Sea Grant has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness of Great Lakes and marine resources since 1971.

tags: Environmental Impact

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