CHA News Article

EPA Issues Proposed Rules Regarding Hazardous Waste at Health Care Facilities

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the attached proposed rules regarding hazardous waste generators and the disposal of pharmaceuticals. The hazardous waste generator improvement proposed rule is intended to enhance the safety of facilities, employees and the general public by improving hazardous waste labeling, as well as emergency planning and preparedness. The EPA states the proposed rule would simplify current federal regulations and provide greater flexibility in how facilities and employees manage their hazardous waste. In addition, the proposed hazardous waste pharmaceuticals rule would prohibit health care facilities from flushing hazardous waste pharmaceuticals down sinks and toilets. The EPA notes that the rule is intended to reduce the burden on health care workers and pharmacists working in health care facilities by creating regulations specific to these facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and retail stores with pharmacies and reverse distributors that generate hazardous waste.

CHA is currently reviewing the proposed rules in the context of current state regulations, which are often far more narrow than federal regulation, and will convene a workgroup to assess the impact on hospitals and other California health care facilities. At the request of CHA and other stakeholders, EPA recently extended its deadline to Dec. 24 for comments on the proposed rule.