How dangerous are expired drugs for the environment? The use of overdue medical drugs can lead to disastrous consequences. After the expiration of the prescribed period, the medicines change their original healing properties. Some drugs become useless, others have an increased effect of side effects but most drugs acquire toxic qualities.
Substandard drugs pose a great threat to the environment. Toxic medical substances can become a serious environmental problem. Getting into the natural environment, they can cause the death of living organisms and disrupt the natural balance. Therefore, any medication requires proper disposal.
Top 3 myths about home disposal of drugs
There are a number of inaccurate statements related to the safety of the disposal of drugs at home. The most common myths include:
- Myth 1: You should grind tablets before discarding. Such actions are justified by the fact that drugs in this form cannot be subjected to accidental use by other people. In fact, the grinding of drugs is quite dangerous since in this form toxic substances can quickly penetrate into the respiratory system, get on the skin and mucous membranes of the eye;
- Myth 2: You should combine pharmaceutical products with bulk foods before sending them to the trash. This approach somehow disguises unsuitable drugs. Unfortunately, it is not valid and the chances of the ingress of hazardous substances in food in such a situation significantly increase;
- Myth 3: You should use a trash can as a means of protecting children from possible intoxication. Throwing poor quality medicines into a trash can, many parents think that this action will save the child from possible poisoning. But curious children are able to find the subject of interest in the most secluded places. At the same time, pets are also at risk.
Methods and stages of medicine disposal
The destruction of drugs is carried out in several ways. Utilization of medical waste consists of the following main steps:
- Incineration or disposal.
The main methods of disposal include:
- Disposal of medicinal waste in incinerators. The burning of drugs in special furnaces allows you to completely destroy the harmful waste;
- Chemical disinfection. Disinfection of recyclable drugs is carried out using chlorine-containing substances. This procedure is preceded by mechanical processing of drugs, contributing to the enhancement of the chemical process;
- Exposure to water vapor. Disposal of pharmaceutical waste is performed under pressure and temperature exceeding 100 degrees in special autoclaves.
Temporary storage of medical waste is allowed in special containers. It’s only allowed to take out carefully sorted non-hazardous drugs in the trash. All toxic substances are transported only to designated areas for disposal.
How to dispose of drugs at home?
If you are worried about the possible harm from the medications that you throw into a regular trash can, you can use the following simple tips offered by My Canadian Pharmacy:
- Carefully read the instructions of the medicinal product, possibly the manufacturer indicated how it can be discarded;
- Do not pour or throw residues into the sewage system if this is not permitted by the instructions for use attached to the product;
- Free the tablets from the paper or plastic case and mix them with inedible garbage. This must be done so that the chemical does not get into the food of an animal or person. You’d better use a recyclable jar or a dense box in which the preparations can be poured with sand or earth.Tear product packages as small as possible. If you have no solid containers at home, fold the garbage in a bag and tie it tightly;
- Take the dangerous garbage out of the house immediately so that it does not become the “prey” of curious children and pets.
Important! Do not forget to regularly review your first-aid kit. It is necessary to get rid of all medicines that have expired, as well as those that were stored incorrectly. Remember that the use of a failed tablet will not only not solve your problem but may also cause additional harm to health.