伊－印州際海洋暨大湖生態專家莫莉（Beth Hinchey Malloy）就指出，「利用馬桶沖水之便棄置藥品的做法，容易產生藥中的化學物質無法受到污水處理場過濾、破壞化糞池系統或是污染鄰近的排水道等後果。」「將藥品丟入垃圾筒雖然可以被清除，但是也有可能因垃圾滲出水而造成進一步污染。」
To keep expired and unused prescription drugs out of the Chicago water supply, city, state and federal governments are cooperating to provide a new permanent, convenient way for people to discard them without flushing them down the drain.
Drop boxes are now located at five Chicago Police Department Area Centers. From there, the pharmaceuticals will be packaged and sent to a state-authorized incinerator for destruction. The collection of the pharmaceuticals is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the disposal is funded by Illinois EPA.
The mayor Richard Daley says Chicago's drinking water is safe and meets or exceeds all standards of safety as established by the U.S. EPA and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
A water sampling project conducted in March by the Bureau of Water, Illinois EPA identified 16 pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the untreated or drinking water of five public water supplies in Illinois, including Chicago. But a comparison of the sampling results with conservative screening levels developed by the Illinois EPA and the Illinois Department of Public Health showed the levels found in water supplies "do not present a public health hazard at this time," the report states.
Still, the majority of trace pharmaceuticals found in the city's waterways are the result of human and livestock excretion.
Improperly disposing of prescription or over-the-counter drugs can contribute to pharmaceuticals found in the city's water. Proper management and disposal has been found to lessen the impact of prescription drugs on the water system.
This year the city has been able to keep just over one ton of prescription drugs out of the waste stream as a result of four neighborhood drop-off events in addition to the permanent drop-off site at the Household Chemicals and Computer Recycling Facility located at Goose Island.
By using the police facilities as a drop-off location, the controlled substances will be deposited safely and kept under observation by law enforcement until they are destroyed, the mayor said.
After the pharmaceuticals are put in the drop box, they will be removed and taken to the Goose Island facility for packaging, then transported by the Illinois EPA to a disposal facility for incineration.
The disposal facility is permitted to handle these materials and contains state-of-the-art technology for controlling the air emissions generated from the incineration.
"Chemicals from medicines flushed down the toilet can pass untreated through sewage plants, damage septic systems, and contaminate nearby waterways," said Beth Hinchey Malloy, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Great Lakes ecosystem specialist. "Medicines thrown in the trash can be scavenged or they have the potential to contaminate landfill leachate."
"Some pharmacies will take back some unwanted medications, and some communities have one-day collection events, but there is no long-term solution to this growing and potentially dangerous wastestream," said Susan Boehme, IISG coastal sediment specialist. "We field calls every week from community leaders, state officials, pharmacists, doctors, solid waste managers or environmental activists looking for information, support, and solutions."