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New solutions for unused drugs

6:21pm, April 3, 2007

A dilute stream of prescription drugs flows through the nation's rivers. To help cut that flow, representatives of the federal government and a pharmacists' trade group want consumers to stop flushing most old drugs down the toilet.

Some 3 to 7 percent of dispensed medicines go unused, according to estimates by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America in Washington, D.C. Pharmacy groups had generally recommended flushing away these leftovers, arguing that the practice prevents pets and curious children from retrieving drugs from wastebaskets.

However, research has begun linking waterborne pharmaceuticals—many of which move unchecked through sewage-treatment plants—with reproductive pr

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