CWEA joins CPSC to ask FDA to stop telling public to flush meds

CWEA has joined the California Product Stewardship Council and 100s of organizations to ask the FDA to stop telling the public to flush medications.

In a letter to the Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the FDA is urged to end its “flush list” recommendation, and work to create a single disposal guidance that is endorsed by all federal agencies and consistently used on all federal websites and materials using the following clear messages on safe medicine disposal:

1. To protect water quality, never flush unwanted medicine down any drain.
2. Use a community medicine take-back program for secure and safe medicine disposal. Check with local household hazardous waste, wastewater, or police departments for locations. Use the medicine manufacturer’s mail-back program if available.
3. Take leftover medicines to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s twice a year National Prescription Drug Take-back Days. Look for a site in your community at or contact your police department.
4. As a last resort, if there are no medicine take-back options in your community: put medicines in a sealed container in the trash after mixing the medicines with an undesirable substance, such as cat litter or used coffee grounds. Make sure the trash cannot be accessed by children, pets, or others who might be looking in garbage. Check with your local government or garbage service first, because local laws may not allow disposing of any pharmaceuticals in the trash.

To review a copy of the letter sent to the FDA that includes clear messaging suggestions for adoption on safe medicine disposal, please visit

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Megan Barillo

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