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October 17, 2016

Help Protect Great Lakes Waters on Drug Take Back Day October 22

OSWEGO COUNTY - New York Sea Grant is reminding Great Lakes residents that October 22 is a National Prescription Drug Take Back Day; an opportunity for dropping off unused medicines at collection sites statewide. The goal is to keep the pharmaceuticals out of the freshwater Great Lakes system that provides drinking water to 42 million people in the United States and Canada.

'The simple act of dropping off your unused prescription drugs at a nearby collection point helps reduce the impact of such substances as antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives, antidepressants, cosmetics, and vitamins on the aquatic environment and on human health,' says New York Sea Grant Coastal Education Specialist Helen Domske.

More than 350 tons of prescription drugs were dropped off at more than 8,000 sites across the U.S. on the Fall 2015 collection day.

To locate an authorized National Prescription Drug Take Back collection site for October 22, visit the U.S. DEA National Take Back Day Initiative Web site at https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback. Collection hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Domske is a 2016 Western New York Distinguished Scientist and author of the "Undo the Environmental Chemical Brew: Keep Unwanted Medications and Chemicals Out of the Great Lakes" guide with tips on how citizens can keep unwanted pharmaceuticals and personal care products out of Great Lakes waters. Find more information online at www.nyseagrant.org/unwantedmeds.

Research by New York Sea Grant and other science organizations has tracked the feminization of fish populations downstream from wastewater treatment plants to estrogen and its components found in prescription drugs.

A New York Sea Grant-funded, two-year research project that began in February 2016 is examining the effectiveness of advanced water treatment options, environmental levels and potential effects of pharmaceuticals in New York waters. Stony Brook University researcher Anne McElroy noted earlier this year, 'The number of pharmaceutically-active ingredients (API) and their known or suspected active metabolites in coastal waters is in the hundreds and continues to increase. Data collected from our project will help to fill important data gaps and enhance knowledge about sewage-derived APIs and their effects on fish behavior and how well advanced wastewater treatment technologies reduce API discharges and mitigate these effects.'

The biannual National Prescription Drug Take Back Days are an initiative of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in cooperation with law enforcement agencies nationwide.

New York Sea Grant, a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the state's marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971. For updates on New York Sea Grant activities, go to www.nyseagrant.org for RSS, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube links.

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