EPA Implements New Hazardous Waste Rules

Sept. 1, 2015

Guidelines to improve safety of waterways.

In an effort to prevent pharmaceutical waste from polluting U.S. waterways, the EPA has created two new hazardous waste rules for healthcare facilities including hospitals, clinics, retail stores with pharmacies, and reverse distributors.

One of the new rules bans healthcare workers from flushing pharmaceuticals down toilets and sinks while creating a new set of regulations for safe handling of the materials, a move that is projected to prevent more than 6,400 tons of hazardous pharmaceutical waste from entering American waterways per year.

The second rule improves the labeling process for hazardous waste, as well as emergency planning and preparedness. While the new rules will create more requirements, the EPA’s proposal is also designed to make the guidelines easier to follow and provide more flexibility in how healthcare facilities manage hazardous waste.

“These rules provide businesses with certainty and the flexibility they need to successfully operate in today’s marketplace. The proposals will improve the safety and health of our communities by providing clear, flexible, and protective hazardous waste management standards,” says Mathy Stanislaus, Assistant Administrator of the EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

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