2012 -- S 2640 SUBSTITUTE A

Enacted 06/12/12








     Introduced By: Senators Tassoni, Doyle, Gallo, and Sosnowski

     Date Introduced: March 01, 2012



     WHEREAS, A 2002 study by the United States Geological Survey conducted across 30

states found that 80 percent of water streams sampled had measurable concentrations of

prescription and nonprescription drugs, steroids, and reproductive hormones; and

     WHEREAS, Many drugs, particularly cytotoxic agents used in the treatment of cancers

such as chemotherapy, have no safe exposure limit, are carcinogenic, mutanagenic, and

teratogenic, and remain active and dangerous long after leaving the human body through waste;


     WHEREAS, In some instances, over 90 percent of a utilized drug fails to be absorbed by

the human body and is excreted through waste into the water supply; and

     WHEREAS, The federal Occupation Safety and Health Administration, the

Environmental Protection Agency, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  have each

publically expressed concern with the handling and/or disposal of pharmaceuticals, particularly

cytotoxic agents; and

     WHEREAS, Even with effective collection and treatment systems, medical waste

incinerators are not capable of destroying cytotoxic chemicals and no methods are currently

available to sewer treatment facilities to neutralize such chemicals; and

     WHEREAS, Despite these limitations, effective methods of collecting, reducing, and

neutralizing drugs, and rendering them safe for disposal, exist and should be fully explored and

considered; now, therefore be it

     RESOLVED, That a Special Legislative Commission be and the same hereby is created

consisting of seven (7) members: three (3) of whom shall be members of the Senate, not more

than two (2) of whom shall be from the same political party, to be appointed by the President of

the Senate; one of whom shall be the Director of the Department of Health, or designee; one of

whom shall be the Director of the Department of Environmental Management, or designee; one

of whom shall be the Director of the Department of Human Services, or designee; and one of

whom shall be the Rhode Island Attorney General, or designee.

     In lieu of any appointment of a member of the legislature to a permanent advisory

commission, a legislative study commission, or any commission created by a General Assembly

resolution, the appointing authority may appoint a member of the general public to serve in lieu

of a legislator, provided that the Majority Leader or the Minority Leader of the political party

which is entitled to the appointment, consents to the member of the general public.

     The purpose of said commission shall be to make a comprehensive study and provide

recommendations regarding potential public health threats resulting from pharmaceutical,

medical, and human waste contamination in the public water supply and appropriate collection

methods to prevent such contamination. Said study shall include, but not be limited to:

     (1) A comprehensive review of methods currently used in this state by consumers, health

care providers, and others for disposing of unused pharmaceuticals so that they do not enter the

wastewater system;

      (2) A review of programs and systems developed in other local, state, and national

jurisdictions for disposing of unused pharmaceuticals so that they do not enter the wastewater


     (3) Recommendations regarding the development of public education and outreach

program concerning the proper disposal of unused medications, including but not limited to,  the

requirement that all physicians, pharmacists, or other health care professionals licensed in the

state of Rhode Island and authorized to prescribe and/or administer chemotherapy treatment

provide written notice to each patient undergoing such treatment as to the hazards posed to

patients and their families in the residential setting of excreted human waste;

     (4) Recommendations, if necessary, regarding statutory and/or regulatory changes to

current processes concerning pharmaceutical and contamination of our water supply, including

the development of sufficient collection methods whereby patients can safely collect and contain

potentially hazardous excreted bodily wastes for a period of time to be defined by the licensed

prescribing practitioner based on the relevant FDA label(s); and

     (5) The potential costs of and recommendations regarding how to finance, such a


     Forthwith upon passage of this resolution, the members of the commission shall meet at

the call of the President of the Senate.  Two co-chairs of the commission shall also be selected by

the Senate President.

     Vacancies in said commission shall be filled in like manner as the original appointment.

     The membership of said commission shall receive no compensation for their services.

     All departments and agencies of the state shall furnish such advice and information,

documentary and otherwise, to said commission and its agents as is deemed necessary or

desirable by the commission to facilitate the purposes of this resolution.

     The Joint Committee on Legislative Services is hereby authorized and directed to provide

suitable quarters for said commission; and be it further

     RESOLVED, That the commission shall report its findings and recommendations to the

Senate no later than March 5, 2013, and said commission shall expire on May 31, 2013.



LC02097/SUB A