Chemotherapy Waste Disposal

Chemotherapy Waste Disposal: Is Your Cancer Treatment Center Compliant?

If your Alabama or Tennessee cancer treatment facility provides chemotherapy treatments to patients, it generates waste which needs to be disposed of according to strict regulations. The proper packaging, transportation, and ultimate chemo waste disposal in each state ensures your treatment center remains compliant with all federal and state guidelines and regulations, including using incineration as the method of disposal.

Laws, regulations, and guidelines also stipulate only approved medical waste management companies should handle chemotherapy waste disposal.

  • Chemotherapy waste disposal in Alabama is implemented and governed under the state’s Administrative Code provided by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management Land Division. The applicable codes establish minimum criteria for medical waste management, including storage, transportation, treatment, and disposal. Section 335-17-1-04, entitled “Penalty for Violations,” lays out stringent penalties imposed by the state as well as the EPA and other federal agencies.
  • Chemotherapy waste disposal in Tennessee closely follows the EPA’s hazardous waste requirements. Medical waste in Tennessee is considered a “Special Waste,” which means it’s one of ten types of solid waste that’s either difficult or dangerous to manage. Any Tennessee facility that produces chemo waste and has it disposed of off-site must annually recertify the accuracy of its waste stream and/or the process generating the waste since the original special waste approval was granted.

Why You Should Care About Proper Chemotherapy Waste Disposal

It takes just one misinformed or unintentional mistake in handling chemotherapy waste to expose your chemo treatment center to fines and penalties in the tens of thousands of dollars a day. Being knowledgeable about and following federal and state regulations to avoid fines and penalties associated with non-compliance is essential to your facility’s bottom line, its reputation, and its viability.

All chemo waste generators have a “cradle-to-grave” obligation for medical waste management, including chemotherapy drugs and equipment. Even after chemo waste leaves your facility, you’re responsible for it until its final, proper, and legal disposition, even if a third-party medical waste management company does the disposal work for you. In fact, if your facility contracts with a waste services company, you need to know that both trace and bulk chemotherapy waste should be incinerated. Your vendor must provide you with both a manifest showing exactly where the waste was taken and a certificate of destruction that shows the waste was disposed of properly.

While proper chemo waste handling is critical to maintaining compliance, it also protects employees, your facility, and the environment. All staff and employees must be educated on how to dispose of chemo waste properly and ensure your cancer treatment center operates under a compliant and safe program.

Eliminating the Confusion Around Chemotherapy Waste Disposal

Whether your facility is located in Alabama, Tennessee, or in another state, here are some helpful reminders:

  • There are multiple types of chemotherapy waste.
  • Chemotherapy waste is only considered infectious if it’s contaminated with an infectious substance, yet some of its components can be toxic in their own right.
  • Know the difference between bulk and trace chemotherapy.
  • Avoid cross-contaminating or mixing medical wastes.
  • Chemotherapy waste must be disposed of by incineration only.
  • The size and placement of labels varies from state to state.

Alabama and Tennessee rules and regulations for chemotherapy waste disposal are lengthy and often complicated, using terms and definitions that may be unfamiliar to some people. TriHaz understands the structure and language used by both states and how it can contribute to a facility’s frustration over the chemo waste management process. Our extensive experience in pharmaceutical waste disposal ensures you stay up-to-date on all state and federal regulations concerning medical waste, including the segregation, labeling, and disposal of chemo waste. Get in touch with us today to learn more.


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