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Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Offers Consumer Tips for Safe Disposal of Prescription Drugs
Date:2/3/2010

materials.'" Oker adds, "There is also the issue of containers and other non-biodegradables. Other challenges are pets and children getting into these medications when they are simply tossed in the trash. The key problem is we do not (yet) know the scope."

Striking a balance

Scientists and water supply officials walk a fine line between those seeking immediate action and others urging a "wait-and-see" approach since "drugs in water" studies don't find nearly enough chemicals to convince most experts humans face any threat today (though they do wonder about Potomac River male bass fish found carrying eggs. Might it be mutation due to discarded drugs?). Increasingly, they favor taking steps now, rather than facing unforeseen drug damage to people, plants and the earth later on.

One is Paul Ritter who teaches ecology at Pontiac (Ill.) Township High School. For several years, his students have led a program in which Pontiac residents drop off unused/outdated drugs at spots around town. Police stand by to ensure legal handling.     "I know it's imperative that I give every ounce of my energy to this," says Ritter, often asked to lecture on Pontiac's safe drug disposal program. "When I see what young people do when given a goal, I never worry about the next generation." The Web site for Ritter's program is www.p2d2program.org (Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal). "We will help any community set up a p2d2 disposal plan."

The acorn fell close to the oak in Ritter's case; his mother Delores is as passionate about keeping drugs out of water supplies as son Paul and
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SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois
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