Disposing of medicines: Don't flush them down the toilet

Old and unused drugs – both prescription and non-prescription – are a major source of water pollution.

Many drugs contain endocrine-disrupting compounds that can interfere with the hormonal systems that regulate the bodily functions of fish and other animals, including humans.

At one time, the standard advice on disposing of medications was: Flush them down the toilet or pour them into a drain. That almost never is the correct means of disposal now.

 Hennepin County medicine drop box
Hennepin County medicine drop box

Most Twin Cities-area counties have collection sites where people can safely and anonymously dispose of medicines. Find  locations and details.

If you live outside the metro area, call your police department or sheriff and ask about disposal.

And, if that fails, check out the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s disposal advice.


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