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tv   [untitled]    October 20, 2010 2:30am-3:00am PST

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>> i would again look to british columbia as a model. their stewardship organization has suggested they would be willing to come down and implement hear what they do there. with the paint bill, that is exactly what is happening. oregon passed an amendment last year. a canadian organization will be coming down to implement that. they have knowledge on what to do. >> if this passes, we may have to seriously consider proposition 26. i do not think that applies to british columbia.
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trying to impose a fee could cause problems. just using british columbia as an example probably will not be enough. you will have to do more. we are talking generally about producers of drugs. but the legislation, as written, is fairly generic. as i read it, it could be applied to the prescription of medicinal marijuana. are we going to require the producers of marijuana out to participate in this program? >> i cannot answer that. >> there is not language here that says if you produce prescription drugs, you need to present it. i am wondering how we are going to track down the producers of all the images on their water that is distributed throughout
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san francisco. >> i appreciate the contrast but we are usually talking about synthetics. marijuana is not a synthetic. >> that is not specifically spelled out here, so we should draft legislation to deal with that. >> that is a good point. through the chair, may i respond? it sets up a dialogue which this legislation compels to the industry to help create the program. the question on fees is really generated by the quality of the program that i think the industry would then be able to provide to us. i am hoping there is 100% compliance and there would not be the necessity to enforce. but in order to be thorough, we need to see the program. as san francisco goes, as it relates to its own programs,
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healthy san francisco, sure, medical marijuana would also be on the stand. >> covered products mean all prescription drugs. marijuana is a prescription drug. defining drugs -- one of the definitions is substances intended for and mitigation and prevention of disease in humans or other animals. i think that fits medicinal marijuana. are we now regulating the producers of marijuana all over the country? if not, maybe we could draft something to exclude that. >> based on british columbia, they do it based on the license holder of the drug. >> in the u.s. we do not necessarily licensed to producers of marijuana. but in san francisco, we allowed it to be prescribed. >> i am curious if you would support a bill that regulates
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cultivators in california? >> what i've tried to get at is the local county of -- local supervisors is way over its head in trying to regulate an international industry. this is something that we 11 believe we have, but i do not think we do. >> i disagree. the question of marijuana is one of distortion. if we want to regulate it, let's do so. if it is entering the kind of waste stream that we do not want. but usually if the debate is around synthetics -- in order to get to the heart of what your asking -- let's regulate cultivators in san francisco. any waste stream generated by this would affect those in the state. >> we cannot regulate the cultivators outside of california. >> but if their product enters california, we can.
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>> so we can regulate the cultivators and humboldt county? >> if we choose to do it like british columbia and look at the waste water, we would look at how much marijuana is return to prison pitting collection locations. [laughter] >> colleagues, if i could ask you to direct your comments either through me, the chair, or to our speaker. are there any other speakers to our representative from the department of the environment? supervisor mirkarimi, do you have any more speakers? >> yes, from puc bob ruben. >> good morning.
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government affairs manager for the san francisco public utilities commission. i am joined today by our water pollution program manager karen hearst. the sf puc is very concerned about pharmaceuticals and our waste water. we support the concepts of cradle to grave product stewardship and also producer of responsibility. we also acknowledge the miracle of modern medicine. however, there is mounting evidence that these miracle medicines are having an impact on our environment. that is why, for many years, the sfpuc has worked through our water prevention program to discourage the flushing of and used medications. we look forward to working with the board of supervisors, environmental advocates, of
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course, the pharmaceutical industry, to find a solution to this. at this point, i would like to call up caring hurst who will talk about our various water prevention efforts. >> good morning. i am the water pollution prevention manager. a lot of what i was going to say, both the supervisor and others have said. in terms of the efforts that the puc has done. our main responsibility is to keep pollutants out of the water system. once they reach a treatment plant, whether it is a drug, greece, mercury, -- and the entire philosophy is to keep chemical's out of the system. we do that through education,
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inspections. one example, we lowered a limit with dental offices to reduce waste. they have installed sectors that would allow residents to use less pesticides. we also have locations where people can cut their runoff. the bottom line is controlling the chemical before it reaches the system. it makes the system work better. speaking specifically with respect to drugs and chemicals, our treatment plants were not designed to take out these chemicals, as the supervisor alluded to. when we have alluded to is we have worked to try and have programs to keep them out of the system. the only additional thing is we have had a few one-day
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collection events, in 2008, 2009, where we have collected an additional 600 pounds. again, the costs mirror what we had for the walgreen's the event. we also work with the bacwa and their subcommittees'. all cities are struggling with this. the bottom line is, we cannot treat for the pharmaceuticals. we cannot have our own collection days, and they are expensive. we see product stewardship as a key component to solving this problem and have been working in coordination with other city struggling with the same issue. >> i am curious, is there anyone from the pharmaceutical industry are approaching the sfpuc on how they can alleviate
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the responsibility on our city from having to shoulder the burden of dealing with the unwanted waste stream? >> not that i am aware of. as i mentioned, we work with the bay area of pollution prevention group. whether we look at pharmaceuticals, do male backs, have collection of tents, have the pharmaceutical associations involved -- there has been dialogue there. i am not privy to all of that, but i do not know at the city level. >> any dialogue that has resulted in tangible efforts with the pharmaceutical industry, manufacturers, or producers that have assisted san francisco in alleviating the unused drugs that are going into waste stream? >> not that i am personally aware of. >> what exactly is the process
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for san francisco. it is probably no different than any other municipality or state system that is hopefully able to filter out between the unwanted waste. i know sfpuc does the best that it can, but as you said, the systems are not designed to membrane out everything. >> our treatment plants are designed to deal with human waste. to get out pharmaceuticals -- the studies that have been done by bawca -- they felt you would need to have a combination of reverse osmosis and carbon filtration. even then, it comes down to particle size, and they are not even sure that everything could be taken out. >> what other options would we have other than supporting this
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cradle to grave? where somebody is able to capture this. while other option would there be? >> from our perspective, we have tried to work upstream. with every industry, with every chemical, we tried to keep it from coming into the system. our philosophy is the same. we want to keep it out of the system because it is expensive and we are not sure that we can do that. the waste water industry as a whole is struggling with this
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because it is a challenge and is expensive. we are not even sure, every jurisdiction is struggling with this. anything that we can keep out of the system is that much better for us as there are no guarantees on the back end. supervisor mirkarimi: appreciate that. if there are no more questions for puc, i will call up the executive director of the california poison control system. please. executive director, by the way. >> thank you, good afternoon. i am the executive director of the california for and control, part of the california school of pharmacy. we spend a great deal of effort in poison prevention and poison- proving household education. we very much support any effort that we can to minimize or
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remove unwanted, and needed medications from the home. about 50% of the poisoning relates to children under the age of 6. we are very concerned about that, as well as elderly folks. many folks have tried to return medications. our issue is that we want them removed in an effective and timely manner with a program that we brought the support. in the past recommendations as stated were primarily to flush them down the drain. we have backed away from that, although for some people that is the only thing they can do. other programs, drop-off programs, whatever. i urge that whatever the final program is, if there is one, the practical, simple, something
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that everyone can support and results in moving these not needed and not wanted products out of a household. >> -- supervisor mirkarimi: appreciate those comments. what percentage of calls does the poison control center get about unwanted, and used drugs? >> not a lot. we manage over 320,000 exposures statewide. there is certainly something that we engaged in, it is very organized throughout the state. another broad program that we can all engaged in there are
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landfall solutions michael walgreen's program that is simple and easy for consumers to follow. there are increasing numbers, but not a lot of calls about disposal. supervisor mirkarimi: when you mention those programs, you are not mentioning the costs of the subsidies of the programs, i have noticed. we would encourage a broad approach to that so that all of those involved in production, distribution, and receipts are engaging in an effective and economical way to accomplish this. supervisor mirkarimi: do you know how public safety would actually be improved by their potentially being a program of private disposal and the nexus
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according to that? >> the exposures that happened in households where most of the products were, there were recent studies showing that the exposure frequently related most often to the products currently in use in the household. out on a counter because people were using them. some of the unwanted, and use medications stored in cabinets were less of an issue. nonetheless, i believe that those should be removed. children get into things that are easy to get their hands on if they are left out. elderly people are easily confused by multiple medications in the cabinet. we would certainly like to see a reduction in these accidental ingestion that occur from unnecessary medication in the household. supervisor mirkarimi: thank you. appreciate that.
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supervisor chiu: as a statewide agency you talk about how different localities have different programs that lead to confusion. are we not setting that up to continue? san francisco will potentially set up a plan to impose some sort of feed? if every city and county has their own plan and feet, where does it end? should the responsibility not live perhaps with legislature in sacramento to make uniformity in the state? or perhaps washington, d.c., where we can have uniformity across the country? it is said -- >> it is a cumulative response. north carolina launched a safe kids program where they looked at the models and how they could
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be introduced in the most consistent and across the board met that. i think that this ordinance, which i do not take a specific position on, is certainly causing us to think about this issue in our community. what can we do to make it a consistent, mainstream practice? i would urge a commonality for these, but i do not think we have the best model sorted out yet. supervisor mirkarimi: curious, on that note, in the absence of the state government from being able to take a comment and effective action, should cities just sit back and wait? >> no, as we do in our work every day we should try to educate the public about the hazards of medication. we all do what we can to educate and inform people when they should be doing something about these medications in their home, taking advantage of what now
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exists, which is not ideal in terms of flushing. various education programs that teach people how to prepare their medication, promulgating drug drop-off programs. but they are not uniformly available. we have to start from the ground up informing the public about this concern. supervisor mirkarimi: is just that we might be able to set the model from the ground up. right? thank you. if it is ok i will move into speaker cards that i have here. supervisor elsbernd: one more question, do not get up, the environmental commission, have they taken a stand on this? public utilities? have they said whether or not they support the legislation? or must you remain quiet until
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the commission has acted? >> the part of the environment, we have no position at this time. >> -- supervisor elsbernd: simply puc? no position? have we heard from the department of health? we do not know or they have had no hearing? supervisor mirkarimi: supervisor elsbernd: know this is the first public hearing on this -- supervisor mirkarimi: no. supervisor elsbernd: this is the first hearing on this? supervisor chiu: if we could move on to public comment, each member of the public will have up to two minutes. supervisor mirkarimi: [reads names] 1 after the other, please. >> i represent the bay area clean water agency prevention group.