Archive for the 'Pharmaceuticals' Category

October is Rise Above Plastics Month

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 by

RAP logo

Rise Above Plastics Month

Rise Above Plastics Month is a month-long initiative encouraging the public to reduce their plastic footprint and raise awareness about the harmful effects caused by single-use plastics in our marine and coastal environments, including the Great Lakes region.

Throughout October, the Surfrider Foundation will ‘Rise Above Plastics’ by providing tips on how you can reduce your plastic footprint and simple ways to implement change in your daily routine. Take the Rise Above Plastics pledge to commit to using less plastics every day.

You can also join your local Surfrider Chapter’s annual plastic trash cleanup and enter Surfrider’s Plastic Art Contest. Show your creativity and help to raise awareness of the effects of plastic pollution. Enter to have a chance to win an epic prize pack including a Firewire Tibertek surfboard or Bureo skateboard, Spy + Surfrider Helm Sunglasses, ChicoBag and Surfrider gear.

The Rise Above Plastics program (RAP) is the Surfrider Foundation’s response to the problem of plastic litter in our ocean and marine environments. The goal of the program is to educate the public on the impacts single-use plastics have on marine environments, and how individuals can make changes in their daily lives and within their communities that will stem the flow of plastics into the environment. RAP also calls upon people to reduce their plastic footprint by reducing or eliminating the use of products such as single-use plastic water bottles and plastic bags.

Some facts about plastics compiled by RAP include:

  • The amount of plastic produced from 2000 – 2010 exceeds the amount produced during the entire last century.[1]
  • Plastic is the most common type of marine litter worldwide.[2]
  • An estimated 100,000 marine mammals and up to 1 million sea birds die every year after ingesting or being tangled in plastic marine litter.[3]
  • Up to 80% of the plastic in our oceans comes from land-based sources.[4]
  • Plastics comprise up to 90% of floating marine debris.[5]
  • In 2009 about 3.8 million tons of waste plastic “bags, sacks and wraps” were generated in the United States, but only 9.4% of this total was recycled.[6]
  • Plastics do not biodegrade, but instead break down into small particles that persist in the ocean, absorb toxins, and enter our food chain through fish, sea birds and other marine life.[7]
  • Plastic bags are problematic in the litter stream because they float easily in the air and water, traveling long distances and never fully breaking down in water.
  • Cleanup of plastic bags is costly. California spends $25 million annually to landfill discarded plastic bags, and public agencies spend more than $300 million annually in litter cleanup.[8]
  • It is estimated that Americans go through about 100 billion plastic bags a year, or 360 bags per year for every man, woman and child in the country.[9]

Learn More

Plastics Pollution in the Great Lakes and the Marine Debris Problem
State University of New York researchers collaborated with the Los Angeles-based 5 Gyres Institute to study plastic pollutants in the Great Lakes Region. Read about their project and learn more about the problem of plastics pollution in the world’s water bodies. Newly updated to include recent research and news about microplastics pollution in the Great Lakes.

Fate and Transport of Steroid Hormones and Veterinary Antibiotics Derived from Cattle Farms

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 by

ISTC Senior Chemist Wei Zheng received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study the fate and transport of hormones and antibiotics from cattle farms. He recently submitted the following update to the USDA and agreed to share it with The GLRPPR Blog as well. The questions below were posed by the funder. For more information about this project, please contact Wei Zheng.

What is the water problem being addressed by your project? What are the main goals of your project?

Large volumes of manure-contaminated wastewater, wash water, and storm water runoff can be generated at concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The reuse of CAFO wastewater on agricultural lands can decrease the amount of wastewater discharge into sensitive water bodies and beneficially utilize the nutrients in the discharge as fertilizers for irrigation applications. However, the wastewater from large confined-animal farms usually retains many contaminants, such as salts, pathogens, heavy metals, hormones, antibiotics, and excess amounts of nutrients, which could pose environmental and public health risks if widely applied for agricultural irrigation. This project focuses on how wastewater reuse from dairy and beef farms contributes to the problem of animal hormones and veterinary antibioticsin the environment.  The primary goal of this project is to investigate the environmental fate and transport of several commonly-occurring steroid hormones, veterinary antibiotics, and their metabolites derived from the agricultural use of CAFO manure and wastewater; minimize their contamination in soil and water; and thereby develop effective management strategies to protect valuable water supplies.

Who are your stakeholders and what has been the impact of your work on your stakeholders? Describe any new technologies that were developed from your work. Are your stakeholders implementing this new technology and if so, how many have implemented the technology? What new knowledge was gained?

This project adds to the body of knowledge concerning the environmental fate and transport of steroid hormones and veterinary antibiotics derived from CAFOs. Successful completion of this project will help the federal and state agencies to formulate effective regulatory programs, help animal farm operators to improve their land application design and operation processes, and help extension staff to develop effective management strategies to minimize the negative environmental effects of hormone and antibiotic contaminants on the surrounding water supplies. Our initial research investigated the transformation kinetics and mechanisms of three steroid hormones (17α-estradiol, 17β-estridiol and estrone) and two antibiotics (ceftiofur and florfenicol) in dairy lagoon and beef recycled wastewater. Our initial results suggest that increasing the residence time of wastewater in lagoon or aerobic settling tanks may be an economical, feasible, and efficient practice to degrade hormone and antibiotic contaminants and thus reduce their loads to the environment. These results will be useful for development of integrated management strategies to mitigate potential adverse impacts associated with the reuse of CAFO wastewater.

Protecting the Great Lakes 4 Million Times

Thursday, August 13th, 2009 by

“Collect 1 Million Pounds of e-waste and 1 Million Unwanted Pills” was the US EPA’s 2008 Earth Day Challenge to residents, businesses and communities around the Great Lakes. Thousands of residents responded by participating in events to properly dispose of unwanted medicines and to collect and recycle electronic waste during the week of April 19 -27, 2008. The 2008 Earth Day Challenge collected the equivalent of 4,400,000 pills and approximately 4,950,000 pounds of e-waste, as reported by 23 unwanted medicine events and 33 e-waste collection events that were held around the Great Lakes (see Tables 1 & 2). The response to the call for events by the US EPA Great Lakes National Program Office was overwhelming and demonstrates the strong interest Great Lakers have in their Lakes, their communities and doing the right thing for their environment. 

 Why do we want to keep medicines out of the trash and our wastewater (the toilet, sink and septic)? In the United States, sales of over-the-counter medicines have increased by 60% since the 1990s.[1]  In 2006, the U.S. prescription volume rose to 3.7 billion prescriptions.[2] With these increases come concern about the fate and effects of these compounds in the environment. Recent studies have identified a wide range of pharmaceutical chemicals in rivers and streams nationwide,[3]  and it has also been shown that some of these compounds are potentially harmful to aquatic organisms, affecting reproduction and development even at low concentrations.[4] The fate of pharmaceutical chemicals in sewage sludge is also of concern, as sludge from wastewater treatment is often applied to agricultural land as a fertilizer. The long-term impacts of medicine disposal on our health and the health of the environment are not fully known. However, unless action is taken, the quantity of these chemicals reaching our waterways will continue to increase as pharmaceutical usage increases.[5]

 


[1] Ann Pistell, Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Presentation at Northeast Water Science Forum, August 9, 2007.

[2] “IMS Intelligence.360: Global Pharmaceutical Perspectives 2006”, IMS Health Report, February 22, 2007. http://www.imshealth.com/ims/portal/front/articleC/0,2777,6599_40183881_81567488,00.html

[3] Kolpin, Dana W., et al. “Pharmaceuticals, Hormones, and Other Organic Wastewater Contaminants in U.S. Streams, 1999-2000: A National Reconnaissance.” Environ. Science and Technology. Vol. 36 no. 6 (2002): pp. 1202-1211.

[4] For example, see Nash, Jon P., et al. “Long-Term Exposure to Environmental Concentrations of the Pharmaceutical Ethynylestradiol Causes Reproductive Failure in Fish.” Environmental Health Perspectives. 112.17 (2004): pp. 1725-1733.

[5] Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, “Disposal of Unwanted Medicines: A Resource for Action in Your Community.” Februrary 2008. p. 2  http://www.iisgcp.org/unwantedmeds

More Details: Protecting the Great Lakes 4 Million Times

Michigan Green Chemistry Action Plan Released

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 by

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on Sept. 15, 2008 released its strategy to promote research, development, and commercialization of innovative and practical technologies that prevent pollution through cleaner, cheaper, smarter chemistry. The strategy, released in the report “Advancing Green Chemistry: An Action Plan for Michigan Green Chemistry Research, Development and Education” identifies key steps for the success of green chemistry in Michigan.

In October 2006, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm issued Executive Directive No. 2007-6, “Promotion of Green Chemistry for Sustainable Economic Development and Protection of Public Health,” that established state policy encouraging the use of safer, less toxic, or non-toxic chemical alternatives to hazardous substances and the research, development, and implementation of Green Chemistry in Michigan.

The DEQ has been given primary responsibility to implement the Green Chemistry Executive Directive, including establishing a Michigan Green Chemistry Program and convening a Michigan Green Chemistry Roundtable. The Roundtable, which is comprised of experts representing business, academia, environmental interest groups, and the public, had significant input into the development of the Action Plan and will be participating in the implementation of the Michigan Green Chemistry Program.

Source: Michigan DEQ, 9/15/08.

New York State DEC to host REACH workshop

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007 by

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently announced that it will host a workshop on the European Union’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH). REACH is a recently adopted overhaul of the chemicals management system in the EU. REACH has important implications for United States firms exporting to EU member states and the rules became effective on June 1, 2007. The training session will take place on September 26, 2007 at DEC headquarters in Albany, NY.

An earlier post described a similar workshop that will be held in Lansing, MI on September 27.

For more upcoming events, check the GLRPPR online calendar and Sector Resources.

New GLRPPR Sector Resource: Pharmaceutical & Personal Care Product (PPCP) Wastes & Impacts

Friday, September 7th, 2007 by

GLRPPR is pleased to announce the availability of a new compendium of resources on Pharmaceutical & Personal Care Product (PPCP) Wastes & Impacts. This compendium focuses on the environmental impacts of pharmaceutical and personal care product residues in the environment, as well as on how to properly dispose of such products to avoid environmental contamination. As with any Sector Resource, expert contact information and lists of relevant events and funding opportunities are provided, as well as relevant Help Desk questions and answers. An RSS feed is available. This sector resource includes a link to the recently released Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant guide Disposal of Unwanted Medicines: A Resource for Action in Your Community, which also happens to be the GLRPPR Site of the Month for September 2007.

This new Sector Resource is a work in progress, so subscribe to the RSS feed or check the web site frequently for updates. If you have suggestions for resources to include, please email them to Joy Scrogum.

MnTap Source Newsletter 2007 Issue 1 Available

Friday, July 13th, 2007 by

The latest edition of the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP) newsletter, Source is now available online. Included in this issue:

  • Rx for the Environment: Hospitals are reporting tenfold increases in costs for managing pharmaceutical waste. Prevention options are helping some facilities reduce drug waste and costs.MnTAP logo
  • Pharmaceutical Waste Workshops: MnTAP is sponsoring three pharmaceutical waste workshops to help hospital-based pharmacies keep in regulatory compliance.
  • Minnesota Health Care Facilities Win Honors: Three Minnesota health care facilities were recognized at the Hospitals for a Healthy Environment’s Environmental Excellence Summit.
  • Disposing of Drug Waste at Home: Tips on how to manage unwanted medications from your home.
  • Lou-Rich Cuts Water: This contract metal manufacturer reduced water used in cleaning and cooling operations by 8.9 million gallons per year, saving $42,100 annually—with assistance from a MnTAP intern.
  • Non-contact Cooling Water: Evaluate your facility’s use of non-contact cooling water to identify opportunities to reduce water use and cost.
  • Where’s Your Waste–MnTAP Interns: Nine MnTAP interns are reducing waste across the Minnesota. Join us on August 23 to hear about how their companies are working to reduce waste.
  • Vacuum Bagging and Infusion Demonstration: Carstens Industries will share its process for vacuum bagging and infusion in Melrose on September 12.
  • Lean and Green Seminar: Manufacturers Alliance is hosting the educational seminar “The New Scene is Lean & Green” on August 9. Three manufacturers will present their experiences.
  • Minnesota Materials Exchange: A materials exchange program lists one company’s unwanted material and makes it available for use by another company. The listings in Source are examples of available and wanted listings, and successful exchanges from the Minnesota Materials Exchange.
  • Calendar: MnTAP posts trainings and events related to manufacturing process improvement, waste management and environmental, health and safety.

Sign-up for a free subscription of the MnTAP newsletter. You can receive the newsletter via e-mail. Minnesota businesses and organizations can choose to receive a hardcopy in the mail, ideal for routing to colleagues.

Archived past issues of Source are available on the MnTAP web site.

Lowell Center, MI DEQ Offer REACH Training

Friday, July 6th, 2007 by

The Chemicals Policy Initiative of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) are offering a training on the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals) legislation in September 2007. The training, entitled Turning REACH into an Opportunity: A Training on Implementing The European Union’s New REACH Legislation, will be held September 27 at the Lansing Community College West Campus in Lansing, MI. The following press release from the DEQ describes the training:

“REACH— Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals— is the recently adopted overhaul of the chemicals management system in the European Union (EU). Entered into force June 1, 2007, REACH has important implications for US firms exporting to European Member States.

Attend this one-day training to learn from one of the few REACH authors and other experts about what you need to know to comply with REACH, stay competitive, and advance more sustainable chemicals management in your firm.

Why Should I Attend?
The new REACH system puts much more responsibility on companies to collect data on most chemicals on the market, assess the risk of these chemicals, and define safe use down the supply chain. It also requires companies to justify continued use of chemicals of very high concern. Any company exporting chemicals or chemical mixtures into the EU; competes in Europe, the US or elsewhere with products meeting European standards; or exports finished products to Europe has been effected by REACH.

This training session will help US companies prepare for REACH and turn it from a challenge into an opportunity. European companies have been preparing for the challenges and opportunities of REACH for several years— US companies must be prepared to remain competitive. Attendees will receive a database of tools and resources to help them make informed decisions about chemicals alternatives.

Complete conference agenda and registration information will be available on the Web by late July at www.chemicalspolicy.org. Registration fee is $100 and includes continental breakfast, lunch, and conference materials. Pre-registration and pre-payment is required. Registration and Information Contact: Yve Torrie, Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, 978-934-3121.”

Note that this event has been posted to the GLRPPR calendar, and an electronic version of the registration brochure will be linked to that event record when it becomes available. As part of Michigan DEQ’s Green Meetings Initiative, all marketing of this training will be done electronically. For more information on DEQ trainings, see the Trainings and Workshops section of the DEQ web site.

Thanks to Jennifer Acevedo of Michigan DEQ for providing this information.

Teleosis Institute Releases Drugs in Our Water Brochure

Friday, July 6th, 2007 by

Drugs in Our Water brochure The Teleosis Institute has a released a new brochure called Drugs in Our Water. The brochure provides a basic overview of the problem of pharmaceuticals and personal care product residues in waterways; some simple tips for consumers as well as pharmacists and health care providers; and a description of the Green Pharmacy Program.

Thanks to Evin Guy for notifying GLRPPR about this resource.

Latest Edition of Symbiosis Addresses Pharmaceutical Pollution Prevention

Monday, June 25th, 2007 by

The latest edition (Vol. 4, No. 2) of the Teleosis Institute‘s journal, Symbiosis, focuses on pharmaceutical pollution prevention. The Teleosis Institute is a non-profit organization based in Berkeley, California, devoted to developing effective, sustainable health care provided by professionals who serve as environmental stewards. Teleosis recently launched a Green Pharmacy Campaign, which is a collaboration with local pharmacies, health providers, and consumers, aimed at reducing the “footprint” of pharmaceutical medicine. The campaign includes a pilot program in Berkeley to take-back unused medicines at pharmacies and doctor’s offices.Symbiosis, Vol. 4, No. 2

The contents of this edition of Symbiosis include:

  • Letter from the Director
  • Health in the News: Pharmaceutical Pollution
  • Green Pharmacy: Preventing Pharmaceutical Pollution
  • Pharmaceutical Pollution: Ecology and Toxicology Considerations
  • Christian Daughton and the Ecology of PPCPs: An Integral Vision
  • Water Quality: Key to Many Doors in the 21st Century, by Christian Daughton, PhD
  • The 4 T’s: Assessing Exposure to Multiple Chemicals
  • Green Pharmacy: Preventing Pollution with Sustainable Medicine
  • Facts on Pharmaceuticals and the Environment
  • Ecological Economics and the Drug Life Cycle: The True Cost of Drugs
  • Pollution Prevention Partner: PharmEcology, LLC
  • Unused and Expired Medicines: A National Pandemic
  • Pollution Prevention Partner: Physicians for Social Responsibility
  • Spotlight on Green Pharmacy: Stockholm County Council
  • Website Review: Environmental Protection Agency: Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) as Environmental Pollutants
  • Book Review: Macroshift: Navigating the Transformation to a Sustainable World
  • Support Green Pharmacy!!

All articles are available online in PDF format at the link above.

Thanks to Evin Guy of the Teleosis Institute for sharing this information.