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Pontiac's pharmaceutical disposal program likely to go nationwide

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PONTIAC - The effort to make Pontiac's drinking water safe and sanitary has taken another step forward, with local pharmacists agreeing to a pharmaceutical reclamation program that could go nationwide.

Pontiac High School science teacher Paul Ritter began the Pontiac Prescription Drug Disposal Program in December, inviting city, water and pharmacy officials to hear how improperly disposed pharmaceuticals could be bad for local water, wildlife and people.

Ritter said all Pontiac pharmacies are on board with the program, which asks people to bring unused or expired pharmaceuticals to retailers for proper disposal.

"It's an amazing feeling to know that the leaders in the industry recognize that there is an issue and were honestly on board before we got started," Ritter said. "We now know that there is a problem and we now know what the solution is."

Ritter said the pharmaceuticals are taken to a facility for disposal.

"Our ultimate goal is to take it nationwide," he said. "I don't want my children or my family to be ingesting these things that aren't meant for them … and I don't want anyone else to be harmed by what could be in a water supply."

Ted Finefield, pharmacist at the Pontiac Super Wal-Mart, was not sure if Wal-Mart would expand the program in its stores.

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"It would be nice if they could do it, but I just don't know at this point," Finefield said.

Ritter's Ecology Club students presented information in December about how improperly disposed pharmaceuticals can be linked to animal mutations and harmful reactions in humans.

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