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Thanks to the support of our local members who wrote letters to their County Supervisors, San Francisco has passed an ordinance requiring pharmaceutical manufacturers to pay for and implement convenient programs for consumers to dispose of unused and out of date medications. Special thanks also goes to Supervisor London Breed, who led the fight to get the ordinance passed, and the staff at the Department of the Environment who will be implementing the new law.
In late March, Mayor Ed Lee signed the ordinance into law. This victory for San Francisco Bay and public safety comes on the heels of a 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals decision upholding a similar ordinance adopted by Alameda County in 2012 against an industry attack. Not surprisingly, the industry opposed a new ordinance in San Francisco despite the fact that when companies band together and support proper disposal – like they do in Canada – it costs so little per bottle, they haven’t raised drug prices.
Pharmaceuticals are detected in waterbodies such as San Francisco Bay, as well as drinking water sources. These chemicals are linked to serious impacts a aquatic wildlife, including reproductive harm, feminization of species, behavioral changes, and even death. Part of the problem is improper disposal, such as flushing unused drugs down the toilet or putting them in the trash. Either way, they end up in the waste system and are making their way into our water.
And come to the Board of Supervisors Hearing on April 14th at 1:30. Click here for more information.
Clean Water Action is working to protect California from the dangers of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Across the country, communities are suffering from health impacts related to fracking including: contaminated drinking water and polluted air, degradation of local waterways, and decreased property values. In most states, fracking operations are designed to extract natural gas reserves. In California, it’s all about oil.
Manufacturing products with less toxic materials and promoting the development of "green chemistry" can not only protect our communities, workers, and ecosystems, but can actually save businesses money, increase efficiency, reduce liability, and give them a competitive advantage as other parts of the world regulate the use of toxic materials.
As California enters its third consecutive dry year, water conservation is a popular topic - television, newspapers, billboards, and radio messages are telling us to conserve water because of the drought.
Clean Water Action agrees that we should practice additional conservation during times of drought. But California's is a dry climate that is expected to become dryer still as the impacts of climate change intensify. This drought gives us an opportunity to rethink our attitudes about and our overall use of water.