No More Pills Down the Drain: Illinois Bans Disposal of Unused Pharmaceuticals in Wastewater Treatment Systems

New legislation enacted in Illinois prohibits the disposal of unused medications into public wastewater collection systems by certain health care institutions. On August 4, 2009, Gov. Pat Quinn signed the "Safe Pharmaceutical Disposal Act" (the SPDA) (Public Act 096-0221), which becomes effective January 1, 2010, and prohibits the disposal of unused medication in solid form into any wastewater collection system regulated by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. The SPDA also requires that certain healthcare institutions, including hospitals, nursing homes, residential health care facilities, home health care agencies, hospice programs, mental health providers and developmental disabilities providers, must revise or implement written policies and practices regarding the disposal of unused solid medications in order to ensure compliance with the new law.

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