EPA FAQ: Why is EPA proposing management standards for hazardous waste pharmaceuticals?

EPA FAQ: Why is EPA proposing management standards for hazardous waste pharmaceuticals?

Frequent Questions about the Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals Proposed Rule

Question: Why is EPA proposing management standards for hazardous waste pharmaceuticals?

Answer: EPA has two primary reasons for this proposal. First, to address concerns raised by stakeholders regarding the difficulty in implementing the industry-oriented Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste regulations for the management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals generated at healthcare facilities and managed at pharmaceutical reverse distributors. This rule proposes to revise and tailor the hazardous waste regulations to improve the management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals by the healthcare sector and thereby enhance protection of human health and the environment.

Second, a number of studies have documented the presence of various pharmaceutical active ingredients and metabolic by-products in surface waters and groundwater in the United States. The pharmaceuticals entering the environment, through flushing or other means, are having a negative effect on aquatic ecosystems and on fish and animal populations. These findings highlight the increasing importance of pharmaceutical use and management, leading EPA to propose changes to the hazardous waste management standards for pharmaceuticals.



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