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EPA may relax pharma waste rule


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) extended until March 4 its comment period for a proposed rule to ease certain pharmaceutical waste regulations for hospitals.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act’s (RCRA) regulations concerning hospital pharmaceutical waste disposal are complex — but a new rule proposed by the EPA may simplify things.

Currently, hospitals that generate pharmaceutical wastes on RCRA’s P- and U-lists (e.g., warfarin, physostigmine, and chemotherapy drugs) are classified as hazardous waste generators. But the EPA wants to change these pharmaceutical wastes to universal wastes, which would ensure larger quantities of hazardous pharmaceutical wastes are collected and disposed of properly, according to the agency.


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