City Hosting Unwanted Medicines Collection and Used Mercury Thermometer Exchange

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City Hosting Unwanted Medicines Collection and Used Mercury Thermometer Exchange

Posted: 08/19/2010
The City of Knoxville and other local sponsors are hosting an Unwanted Medicines Collection and Used Mercury Thermometer Exchange from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Saturday, August 21, at Mercy Medical Center North.

The medical center is located at 7565 Dannaher Way just off Emory Road.

This event offers residents an opportunity to turn in unwanted and/or outdated and expired prescription medicines, over the counter medications and used mercury thermometers for proper disposal.

A free digital thermometer will be given in exchange for every mercury thermometer turned in – or until the supply of replacement thermometer's is exhausted. In addition to properly disposing of the medications any empty plastic containers left with the organizers will be recycled.

Members of the City of Knoxville and Knox County Solid Waste Offices, the Knoxville Police Department, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, UT Academy of Student Pharmacists, Hallsdale-Powell Utility District, KUB, and the Knox County Health Department will be on hand to collect and properly dispose of the unwanted medicines and thermometers.

The goal of the unwanted medicines collection is to prevent these pharmaceutical and over the counter products from getting into the water supply – or into the hands of children – and to make sure they are disposed of in a safe, environmentally-friendly manner.

It is part of an ongoing, nationwide effort to reduce the amount of drugs and over the counter products including drugs, fragrances, sunscreen products and nutritional supplements that are entering water systems from either being flushed or poured down drains. Old medicines can also be brought to the Knoxville Police Department, located at 800 Howard Baker Jr. Avenue, after the event where they can be deposited in a secure collection container located near the information desk for disposal.

Earlier this year the Knox-Area Medication Collection Program received a Governor's Environmental Stewardship Award from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for its role in keeping medication out of local waters and landfills, and for making the community a safer place by collecting expired and unwanted prescriptions.

Since the program began in 2008, over 1,000 lbs of medication have been collected through a combination of unwanted medicine collection events and the installation of a permanent drop box at the KPD's downtown station. The program has become a model for other municipalities in the state of Tennessee, several of which will be directly modeling the successes achieved by the Knox-Area Medication Collection Program to set-up their own localized programs.

Saturday's event is sponsored by the City of Knoxville Public Service Division, Knox County Health Department, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Knoxville Utilities Board, Knox County Solid Waste, Knoxville Police Department, UT Academy of Student Pharmacists, the Hallsdale-Powell Utility District and Mercy Medical Center North.

More information about the potential impacts of pharmaceuticals on the environment is available at www.epa.gov/ppcp while information about United States Geological Survey (USGS) research on the presence of pharmaceuticals in the environment is available at http://toxics.usgs.gov/regional/emc.

For more information about Saturday's event or the Knox Area Medication Collection Event please call, John Homa, the city's Solid Waste Project Manager, at 865-215-2872 or KPD Officer Craig McNew at 865-215-7031.