In February of 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency released the final rule of the Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals. Since the release, several articles have been written about this change, and we have linked a few in the References section. The new rule requires health facilities to assess and reform hazardous waste management practices. It is imperative for your facility to be aware of these changes because the new standards replace the previous hazardous waste generator regulations. You can read the full regulation here. Major aspects of the new rule include:
- Duplicative Regulations Removed
- No More Pharmaceuticals Down the Drain
- Nicotine Listing Amended
Duplicative Regulations Removed
The duplicate regulation of Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste pharmaceuticals that are also Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) controlled substances has been eliminated. The new rule provides clarity on how pharmaceuticals are managed under the DEA, EPA, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
No More Pharmaceuticals Down the Drain
The new standard bars disposing of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals down the drain. This will reduce sewer disposal and help reduce the environmental load of pharmaceuticals in national waters. This part of the rule went into effect in all states on August 21, 2019.
Nicotine Listing Amended
FDA-approved, over the counter nicotine replacement therapies (patches, gum, lozenges, etc.) are no longer considered acutely hazardous waste when discarded. E-cigarettes are still considered an acute hazardous waste and are subject to the new standard.
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