Safe disposal options for expired or excess medications or pharmaceuticals
Disposal of excess or expired pharmaceuticals via the sanitary sewer system has been the standard for years in homes and even healthcare settings like hospital and nursing homes. Recent studies from around the country and right here in Kansas indicate this common disposal practice is negatively impacting development of aquatic life in our water bodies. The United States Geological Service (USGS) has published a national fact sheet detailing these water contamination issues at http://toxics.usgs.gov/pubs/FS-027-02/index.html.
Kansas programs provide the following guidance and assistance programs.
- New KDHE guidance
- Special help for nursing homes or long-term care facilities
- Pharmaceutical waste management Web cast – December 13, 2007
- Healthcare compliance and pollution prevention workshop and trade show
- Additional assistance for healthcare facilities
New KDHE guidance
In an effort to keep these medications out of our waterways, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has recently published a guidance document that prioritizes disposal methods. Find the new document at http://www.kdheks.gov/waste/guidance/sw07-01.pdf. The guidance information pertains mainly to homeowners and non-regulated hazardous waste generators. It states that if old or excess medications are not able to be returned or brought to a collection program like a household hazardous waste facility, then they should be crushed and made into a paste with coffee grounds or kitty litter, and put into the trash in a closed container like a coffee can or laundry detergent bottle.
Special help for nursing homes or long-term care facilities
With support from KDHE’s Bureau of Water, K-State’s Pollution Prevention Institute has developed a special outreach and technical assistance program to help facilities identify best management practices for pharmaceutical wastes disposal. Some pharmaceutical wastes cause healthcare facilities to be regulated as hazardous waste generators and be subject to performance standards. For more information, contact Nancy Larson by e-mail or at 800-578-8898.
Pharmaceutical waste management Web cast – December 13, 2007
Learn more about pharmaceutical waste management options at long-term care and healthcare facilities. Join us for a Web cast at 9:00 a.m. central, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007. Register on-line or call 800-578-8898. You can also register by phone at 800-578-8898. One to two weeks prior to the Web cast, access to the presentation and teleconference information will be provided.
Healthcare compliance and pollution prevention workshop and trade show
The second annual Hospitals for a Healthy Environment (H2E) workshop will be held in Kansas City, Dec. 5-6, 2007. Learn more about this workshop at http://www.sbeap.org/workshops.php.
Additional assistance for healthcare facilities
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities are often regulated generators of hazardous waste. Additional guidance and lists of pharmaceutical wastes regulated as RCRA hazardous wastes can be found at http://www.hercenter.org/hazmat/pharma.cfm and http://www.h2e-online.org/docs/h2epharmablueprint41506.pdf.
Kansas-specific healthcare information can be found at http://www.sbeap.org/industry.php.
If you work with a healthcare facility and need assistance, contact K-State’s Nancy Larson at 800-578-8898 for confidential, free technical assistance. Nancy can assist by answering questions through the 800 hotline, provide on-site assistance, and offer information about several pharmacy waste regional and state education opportunities, including teleconferences. You can also contact Nancy by e-mail at email@example.com.
K-State / Engineering Extension