ISG: Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Environmental Education Program 3:30-4:50 TR

Contact Information

Terri Hallesy, Education Coordinator,
Laura Kammin, Pollution Prevention Specialist,
388 NSRC, MC-635
1101 W. Peabody Drive
Urbana, IL 61801

Mission Organization

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant Program (IISG) uses the latest science to empower people to solve environmental problems in sustainable ways. The Education component fosters scientifically-literate citizens to serve as stewards of our local aquatic resources. To prepare students as responsible decision-makers and future leaders, IISG develops education programs that will engage students using highly interactive methods. 

Problems and/or Opportunities

How we choose to use and dispose of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) impacts water quality the water that we drink, bathe in, and use for recreation. Most of us do not use all of the medication that we buy. But using the toilet or trash to dispose of medicine can put people, animals, and the environment at risk. So that raises the question how do we get rid of our unwanted medicines? And what about all the soap, shampoo, cosmetics, lotions, fragrances, and sunscreens that we use? There are thousands of these personal care products on the market. Contrary to popular belief, many of the chemicals used in these products are not regulated for safety, long-term health impacts, or environmental damage. We consider this to be a healthcare issue since several of the chemicals involved are known or suspected endocrine disruptors or possible human carcinogens.

Solutions and Projects

  • Use marketing tools to develop and promote a single-day medication take-back event for campus and promote the permanent medicine collection program available in C-U.
  • Modify an existing curriculum on reducing exposure to emerging contaminants found personal care products such as triclosan and other chemicals of concern.
  • Mentor local middle and high school students to educate them about chemicals they may be inadvertently exposing themselves to through the use of pharmaceuticals or personal care products, such as shampoos, body wash, makeup, etc.
  • Use graphic design skills to help IISG develop materials to be used at outreach events such as the McKinley Health Fair, Sustainability Week, or other campus venues selected by the students.
  • Assist with managing the IISG unwantedmeds social media campaign.

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