Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are widely used in the United States, but along with benefits come unintended health and environmental consequences.
- Between 2001 and 2008, more than 430,000 children 5 years old or under were seen in emergency rooms due to poisonings from self-ingested prescription or over-the-counter medicines.
- In 2011, the Animal Poison Control Center received more than 25,000 calls related to pets consuming human medications.
- A nation-wide survey of teens found that 62% who abused prescription pain relievers said they were easily accessible through their parents' medicine cabinets.
- Many of the chemicals used in personal care products are known endocrine disruptors.
PPCPs have been documented in rivers, lakes, coastal waters, groundwater and treated drinking water across the country. Even though the chemicals occur at very low levels (parts per billion or trillion), they are known to cause changes in behavior, reproduction, and growth in fish, frogs, mussels, and other aquatic animals. These findings are raising concerns among researchers about potential long-term human health consequences (including antibiotic resistance and fetal exposure).
Since 2006, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant has educated more than 100,000 people about proper disposal of unwanted medicine and has helped 62 communities in the Great Lakes states collect more than 7.7 million pills. Working with Sea Grant programs in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, education and outreach efforts have expanded to include stewardship of personal care products as well.
Sea Grant is well positioned to help communities reduce the amount of PPCPs making their way to local water bodies. IISG invites all Sea Grant specialists, educators or communicators who have strong interest in this issue to attend the Keeping Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) out of the Environment workshop to be held in Florida in February 2013.
The workshop will include information on:
- Current research on PPCPs
- Pathways to the environment
- Risks to people, pets and wildlife
- Waste minimization efforts
- Case studies of pharmaceutical collection programs
- Models of current funding mechanisms
- Disposal of controlled substances and hazardous waste
- Legislative efforts
- The roles of educators, students, health professionals and other community members
- Building community partnerships
- Developing a national collaborative effort among Sea Grant staffers
Join us: February 6-7, 2013
Hilton Garden Inn Airport
13503 Ranch Road