Is It Crucial To Identify And Safely Disposing Of Medication?

As per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the presence of contaminants of concern (CECs) comprise personal care and pharmaceutical products (PPCPs) are now becoming present in US surface waters and leachate, a contaminated liquid that is derived by water that is percolating through an untreated waste disposal site.

These bioactive drugs and pharmaceutical waste management products come from a variety of sources. They’re now in the air in alarming quantities – levels which could harm the quality of drinking water and plant life as well as the humans living in the vicinity.

The Classifications For Pharmaceutical Waste

Based on the chemical properties as well as the potential risk to human health or the environment, pharmaceutical waste can be classified as hazardous or non-hazardous as per the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

The disposal of these items is controlled by the EPA and must adhere to established guidelines and criteria. EPA regulations do not require non-RCRA drug waste to be categorized as hazardous, however, it is recommended for pharmacies to dispose of all waste from pharmaceuticals regardless of their classification.

RCRA Categories Of Hazardous Pharmaceutical Waste

There are three types that comprise RCRA hazardous pharmaceutical wastes such as U-listed and P-listed products; and/or items that are hazardous based on their properties.

Chemicals found in these wastes must be 100% pure or be the only active ingredient of a particular product. Examples of each category include:

P-List Waste:

  •         Warfarin
  •         E-cigarettes and prescription nicotine patches with packaging, as well as leftover drug residues
  •         Arsenic trioxide
  •         Epinephrine
  •         Phentermine
  •         Physostigmine
  •         Physostigmine salicylate

D-List Waste

Drugs that ignite like alcohol-based cough syrups, as well as aerosol cans that contain propellants that ignite

Corrosive drugs include glutaraldehyde and other drugs that are stored in nitric acids and bases that are used to compound chemicals

Reactive drugs, including waste that reacts negatively with various chemicals, as specified on the substance’s Safety Data Sheet

Toxic drugs with toxic chemicals, such as mercury, selenium, silver arsenic, chloroform, arsenic barium, chromium, cadmium and lindane. They also contain m-cresol , in particular concentrations.

DEA Controlled Pharmaceutical Waste

Highly addictive drugs that are frequently misuse or toxic when take in large doses are regulate by Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and are consider hazardous waste from control substances. Typically, they are prescription/pharmaceutical drugs.

Non-hazardous Waste

According to the RCRA as a matter of fact, hazardous pharmaceutical waste is not necessarily safe if it is dispose of in the environment. Therefore, it needs careful handling and specific disposal methods.

Examples of pharmaceutical waste that is not hazardous include:

  •         OTC medications
  •         Nicotine replacement therapy over-the-counter, in some states.
  •         Antibiotics
  •         Hormones
  •         Contraceptives
  •         Endocrine-disrupting compounds

Wastes that are list as P- and U-list where the list chemicals aren’t the only active ingredient.

In the same way, for non-hazardous and controlled pharmaceuticals, EPA suggests that pharmacies ship the medicines to reverse distributors for the possibility of credit and for proper disposal.

Non-hazardous pharmaceutical waste must not be dispose of in sewers, but is best dispose of in the solid waste landfill or burn by an incinerator for solid waste conforming to all local and state environmental regulations.

Treatment Pharmaceutical Waste

Disposing of pharmaceuticals and other chemical wastes like lab waste could be extremely difficult if there aren’t any establish treatment facilities.

It is possible to reduce waste with the help of WasteManaged or a pharmaceutical waste disposal company through diligent stock-keeping. Maintain a log of the quantity of each medicine needed, and avoid ordering excessive quantities to avoid becoming out of date. A “first in, first out” procedure in the pharmacy to ensure that products that are schedule to expire first are give first.

When possible, health facilities should enter into take-back arrangements with suppliers. This is where the suppliers agree to get rid of any pharmaceuticals their customers can’t use.

Many Disposal And Treatment Options Are Available To Deal With Different Scenarios.

Chemicals that are inexpensive and readily available are able to neutralize certain medications, such as chemotherapeutics. They are especially useful in small quantities of liquid residues, such as for instance, in IV sets.

Initiation is the process of getting the pills out of their packaging and mixing them with liquid concrete and laying it in the landfill prior to when it is confirm.

Encapsulation refers to the practice of placing the drugs into barrels, which then get fill with concrete and then landfill. It can be accomplish more quickly and cheaply because the pills do not require removal from those PVC blister packs that they are typically pack in.

These blister packs cannot be recycle therefore any valuable resources are waste. A lesser-know technique call alkaline hydrolysis holds great potential.

It can break down tissues of animals as well as killing pathogens like prions, and eliminating harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde and chemotherapy drugs. Further research is require to confirm its effectiveness for specific drugs. It’s cost-effective compare to burning using air pollution control.

Alkaline hydrolysis is advertise as digesters of tissues to destroy human tissues as well as carcasses of animals, but it can be utilize for any reason.

The capacities of units range from 10 kg to 4500kg for each batch. The wastes are treat with either potassium hydroxide or sodium between 130-110 degrees Celsius for approximately 3-8 hours, base on the equipment and the pressure at which it operates.

Certain alkaline hydrolysis units create solid residues that can be use for landfill, while other units produce liquid effluent. The liquid effluents are likely to contain a significant organic load and a high ph. However, they can be discharge into the sewer following neutralization or dilution.

The Patient’s Role In Pharmaceutical Waste: Role

The manufacturing and usage of pharmaceuticals will be associated with the production of different types of disposal of sharps bins that contain active ingredients in pharmaceuticals (APIs) or excipients the products of their transformation and undesirable by-products.

Release of such bioactive substances into the environment has to be control in order to avoid unacceptably negative effects to the environment or the health of people.

The role of medicines is a crucial role in the treatment of many illnesses and conditions. However, at the end of treatment, it is crucial to dispose of them correctly. Therefore, knowledge and understanding of the proper method for disposal of medications is crucial for the safety of our environment.

A lack of understanding and practices can result in a myriad of issues, such as environmental pollution and various health hazards, directly or indirectly.

The Role Of The Pharmacist In Pharmaceutical Waste Management

Pharmaceutical industry increasing its techniques for treating this waste material day after day, and to reduce using reagents which pose a risk to the environment, by devising alternative pathways to synthesis.

Pharmaceutical waste can be describe as a type of medical waste which comprises non-exploit medicines and personal care products like cleansing pads, razors, cotton pads and many other products, which can have negative effects on human health and environmental health.

Since the disposing of sharps of pharmaceuticals is contaminated with drugs, they are extremely sensitive and can’t be removed like normal waste. They require special treatment, regardless of whether from a clinic, hospital or pharmacy or from a private household.

The Solution

As the most easily accessible health professionals and medication experts, pharmacists are able to provide an important education in the correct medication disposal to combat these disturbing statistics.

The drug disposal program and collections serve as sources for the community to safely dispose of unwanted or unused medicines, but also serve as places to study the reasons behind medication waste.

A variety of solutions regarding the disposal of unneed or unwant medication have be develop. In the past, it was suggest that medication be pour over to the drain or flush into the toilet. For some medications that are prescribe, this is still the prefer procedure for disposal.

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