CLSA Letter to Editor: LA Daily News: Risks from medical waste shouldn’t be overstated


Risks from medical waste shouldn’t be overstated: Letters
Letter to the Editor
By Sara Radcliffe, Pres. & CEO, California Life Sciences Association
March 2, 2016

Re “Why flushing medicine should be banned in L.A. County” (Guest Commentary, Feb 18):

Heidi Sanborn’s commentary misses several points. Despite the rhetoric, the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and Drug Enforcement Agency have science-based national standards for disposing of unused medicines.

Indeed, flushing certain unused medications is encouraged to protect public health. The vast majority of trace pharmaceuticals in water result from human excretion, and the FDA has found “no indication of environmental effects due to flushing.”

Federal and state statutes already have regulations on sharp-instrument disposal too. A recent University of California study determined current law afforded sufficient protections. Further, no scientific evidence exists that suggests takeback programs improve water quality.

Consumer education has been proven to be a better approach. Robust education programs or existing household waste programs being considered by state lawmakers would be a more cost-effective, convenient and successful solution than an unworkable patchwork of unproven “takeback” approaches.

— Sara Radcliffe The letter writer is president and CEO of the California Life Sciences Association

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