The Effects of Down the Drain Disposal of Drugs on the Environment

Monica High, Science, Hawthorne Academy

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


This unit will focus on highlighting the possible effects of introducing drugs into the
water supply. Students will explore how drugs are introduced to the aquatic environment. They
will take an in depth look at endocrine disruptors, and studies that have linked their presence in
water to male feminization. Students will also research popular drugs in the United States and
hypothesize their effects on the aquatic environment, and ultimately human health. One problem
posed to students is to determine how wastewater treatment plants can effectively remove a
particular drug out of the water supply. Students will practice calculating LD 50 without a
calculator and create a model explaining the LD 50 of their assigned drug. This unit also contains
a service learning component where students will educate the public about the hazards associated
with improper drug disposal.