Environmental Performance (cont.)
Water scarcity and quality remain important issues in many parts of the world where Johnson & Johnson has operations, including India, China and some parts of the United States.
In 2005 we set a Healthy Planet goal to reduce absolute water use by 10 percent by the end of 2010. Since then, we have reduced absolute water use by 14 percent, to approximately 10.8 million cubic meters in 2009.
Each Johnson & Johnson facility has assessed ways to reduce water use and developed a water conservation plan. Our companies conduct water audits, share best practices and develop ways to increase use of recycled water. We are also working at the local level to encourage investment in water-reuse infrastructure. Challenges include continuing to reduce water use as production increases and reducing water use in the manufacture of our consumer products, where it often serves as a main component.
One way to reduce water use is to use more recycled water in manufacturing. In 2008 we began collecting information on the amount of recycled water used within our facilities. In 2009 we used 0.8 million cubic meters of recycled water.
PHARMACEUTICALS IN THE ENVIRONMENT
Pharmaceutical residues in the environment (PIE), mostly due to excretion of medicines by patients and consumers, continue to gain media and regulatory attention. In 2009 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency updated the list of chemicals it may examine to determine whether regulation may be necessary. Fifteen pharmaceutical products appeared on this list, of which eight are estrogens; a Johnson & Johnson operating company manufactures one of these.
We continue to reduce or eliminate sources of active pharmaceutical ingredients from our manufacturing wastewater discharges. Information gained from periodic wastewater monitoring is used to develop safe levels for these ingredients. At the end of 2009, all our operating companies that produce active pharmaceutical ingredients had characterized their wastewater effluents. In 2009 we commissioned an external science advisory board to evaluate our risk-management strategy for minimizing these discharges, and we are addressing their recommendations.
Research to date indicates that the trace amounts of pharmaceuticals found in water bodies in the U.S. and Europe are unlikely to affect human health but that over time aquatic organisms in certain locations may be affected. The situation is complicated by the possibility that mixtures of PIE substances could result in different impacts than individual substances have on their own. Also, current water treatment approaches are focused on biological contaminants such as human waste rather than on chemical contaminants such as trace amounts of medicines. While significant amounts of many pharmaceuticals are removed by these treatment technologies, some pharmaceuticals are not.
To gain a better understanding of potential treatment options, Johnson & Johnson continues to fund a study with the National Science Foundation and several universities that assesses cost-effective methods to test for and treat pharmaceuticals in water. Through the trade association Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), we are supporting SMARxT Disposal, a unique public-private partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the American Pharmacists Association designed to educate consumers on the proper disposal of old or outdated medicines.