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    What are PPCPs? 

    PPCPs stand for Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products. They include:

    • Prescription and over-the-counter drugs
    • Veterinary drugs
    • Fragrances
    • Cosmetics
    • Sun-screen products
    • Diagnostic agents
    • Nutraceuticals (e.g., vitamins)

    Why care?   

    Human Health

    Pharmaceuticals (including antibiotics, antidepressants and sex hormones) have been found in the water supplies of at least 41 million Americans. Since the concentration levels of these substances are so low (generally parts per trillion), they are far below prescription dosages.  However, there is growing concern that these chemicals could contribute to health problems. Also, many pharmaceuticals sold on the streets or consumed by young people come from home medicine cabinets. Proper disposal of PPCPs can prevent misuse of pharmaceuticals.

    Environmental Health

    While PPCPs may have an impact on human health, they have a much greater impact on fish and other aquatic wildlife.  These organisms are more susceptible to problems from PPCPs because they have continual exposures, multi-generational exposures, and exposure to higher concentrations of PPCPs in untreated water.

    Biological impacts on wildlife include:

    • feminization of male fish or masculinization of female fish
    • delayed sexual development in fish
    • delayed metamorphosis in frogs
    • embryo mortality
    • abnormal hormone levels
    • impaired reproductive systems and immune systems
    • structural and neurological damage









    For more information on the environmental impacts from PPCPs, visit or

    Sources of PPCPs

    PPCPs get into our water from many different sources.  These include:

    • pharmaceutical industries
    • hospitals
    • medical facilities
    • households
    • veterinary drug use (especially antibiotics and steroids)
    • agricultural areas

    How to properly dispose of PPCPs

    • Find a permanent disposal bin near you
    • Attend a "Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet" event near you (generally in April and October)

    If the above options are not available safely dispose of PPCPs in your household by:

    •  Removing the prescription label
    • Crushing up the pills
    •  Mixing the PPCPs with undesirables such as kitty    litter or coffee grounds
    •  Sealing in a plastic bag
    •  Taking it out on the day trash is picked up   


    Don't flush PPCPs down
    the toilet!


     Other Resources

    death  Last year in Utah more people died of accidental overdoses of prescription drugs than of automobile accidents.