News > News > Water Quality > The Drug Take Back Act is law: Governor Cuomo signs legislation protecting New York’s waterways from pharmaceutical pollution

The Drug Take Back Act is law: Governor Cuomo signs legislation protecting New York’s waterways from pharmaceutical pollution

The Drug Take Back Act is law:

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OSSINING — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the Drug Take Back Act on Tuesday, legislation that will go a long way in protecting the state’s waterways from pharmaceutical contamination. Riverkeeper’s research and advocacy helped drive the conversation to get the legislation passed.

Drug take back actAlong with its partners — including Cornell University and the EPA — Riverkeeper conducted surveys of pharmaceuticals in the Hudson River Estuary, finding more than fifty different pharmaceutical compounds, with greater numbers found in samples at or near municipal wastewater treatment plant outfalls. Wastewater treatment and septic systems are not designed to remove these contaminants, resulting in pharmaceutical pollution in waters across the state.

The new law — passed unanimously by both the Senate and the Assembly — establishes a robust, statewide program to provide safe pharmaceutical disposal for all New Yorkers. Drug manufacturers, rather than the taxpayers, would foot the entire bill for implementing the program. The law will require that chain pharmacies provide free and convenient drug disposal, while other authorized collectors (e.g. independent pharmacies, local law enforcement) would have the option of participating.

“Riverkeeper commends Governor Cuomo and the legislature, and the bill’s lead sponsors, Assemblymember Aileen Gunther and Senator Kemp Hannon, for backing this important initiative, which will protect our waterways and the aquatic life they hold,” said Dan Shapley, Director of Riverkeeper’s Water Quality Program. “The data Riverkeeper has collected with the EPA and Cornell University show large numbers of pharmaceuticals in the Hudson. Giving people convenient access to take-back options will help prevent flushing of unused medications, eliminating one source of drugs in our waters.”

Earlier:
Landmark DEC report calls for pharmaceutical industry to fund safe drug disposal in New York State
NYS Legislature Passes Drug Take Back Act

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