By A.J. Plunkett
The Environmental Protection Agency has rescheduled informational webinars on the upcoming requirements for handling hazardous waste pharmaceuticals that were postponed because of the partial government shutdown.
The 90-minute webinars are now scheduled for February 14, March 4 and March 13, although the EPA warns that a second government shutdown could change delay the webinars again. Each of the webinars are set to begin at 1 p.m. Eastern time.
After more than a decade of starts and stops in trying to develop requirements for the disposal and handling of hazardous pharmaceutical waste, the EPA’s acting administrator signed the final rule, “Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals and Amendment to the P075 Listing for Nicotine,” December 11, 2018.
While the rule has been prepublished on the EPA’s website, as of early February it has yet to be officially published in the Federal Register. Once it is officially published, the requirements are expected to take effect in six months, except for those states that have their own environmental protection programs.
The rule adds a new subpart on hazardous waste pharmaceuticals to the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Those states will be allowed time to adopt the requirements, or more stringent rules if they choose. The only states without their own programs are Iowa and Alaska. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations that handle pharmaceuticals that produce hazardous waste in those states will be expected to be compliant as soon as the rule becomes effective.
In the meantime, the EPA in the final rule points to practices outlined in “Managing Pharmaceutical Waste: A 10-Step Blueprint for Healthcare Facilities” as a best management practice guide.
The webinars are sponsored by the EPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery. Originally only two webinars were offered but so many signed up for the sessions, the waiting lists were in the hundreds.
To sign up, go to https://clu-in.org/conf/tio/HazWastePharmaceuticals/.
- EPA main home page on final rule: https://www.epa.gov/hwgenerators/final-rule-management-standards-hazardous-waste-pharmaceuticals-and-amendment-p075
- EPA recommended “Managing Pharmaceutical Waste: A 10-Step Blueprint for Healthcare Facilities in the United States:” https://practicegreenhealth.org/sites/default/files/upload-files/pharmwasteblueprint.pdf