Kristen Keteles US EPA

Resources Reviewed

PIG How-To's

Safe Disposal of Veterinary Pharmaceuticals

Publish Date: May 15, 2013

Pharmaceutical compounds are increasingly being detected at low levels in ground and surface waters. Although environmental concentrations of pharmaceuticals measured to date are far lower than the intended therapeutic doses, there is concern that the potential exists for these chemicals to have an adverse impact on aquatic life and human health. Disposal of pharmaceutical compounds is becoming a complex environmental issue. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), little is known about the potential health effects to humans or aquatic organisms exposed to the low levels of most of the chemicals or mixtures commonly found in their studies. But the safety and health of the environment is directly affected by the disposal method, so it is important that we all be responsible when disposing of these products. Presently, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) does not offer specific guidelines for disposal of pharmaceutical waste, but they do offer an educational video on the subject, available by visiting and searching “drug disposal”.

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