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Environmental concerns about pharmaceuticals in the environment continue to grow as more are discovered in surface waters, ground water, landfill leachate, and aquatic life. With an aging population that is being prescribed more medications and an increasing number of new drugs that are brought to market, the problem of pharmaceuticals in the environment is being exacerbated. The vast majority of unused pharmaceuticals are being disposed of down the drain or discarded in the trash, allowing for possible direct releases to the environmental.

EPA is developing a proposal to address changes to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations under Subtitle C to address certain pharmaceutical wastes that are currently regulated as hazardous.

NEWMOA has an interest in improving the management of unwanted, undesired pharmaceuticals, in part because many health care facilities and pharmacies operate across state lines in the Northeast and due to the current regulatory requirements related to discarded pharmaceuticals. The organization has advocated for new regulatory approaches and coordination with EPA and other federal agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) that could yield a holistic, flexible, and environmentally-sound approach to pharmaceutical waste management. This might include a new regulatory framework with a workable blend of actions, such as:

  • education,
  • producer responsibility, and
  • convenient collection for households and other small generators.

In 2013, NEWMOA formed a Pharmaceutical Waste Workgroup to promote interstate collaboration on:

  • Sharing monitoring data related to pharmaceuticals identified in the environment;
  • Communicating and coordinating with EPA on federal regulatory approaches to pharmaceutical waste management;
  • Helping members share information on enforcement of existing laws and regulations;
  • Keeping informed about regulatory approaches being tested in states and other jurisdictions; and
  • Working collaboratively to develop elements of new management or regulatory approaches and models.

For more information, contact Terri Goldberg at .

 

 

Last Modified 12/04/2013

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