EPA Proposal on Pharmaceutical Waste Affects Assisted Living Communities
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a proposed rule establishing management standards for pharmaceutical waste that is classified as “hazardous” under the federal law.
The newly proposed standards include requirements for assisted living communitiesLink Icon, continuing care retirement communities and other establishments. The proposed rules address recording keeping, storage, labeling and shipping. It also bans healthcare organizations and others from flushing waste pharmaceuticals down the sink and toilet.
The EPA said in its proposal: “Given that long-term care facilities are licensed settings for the care of their residents and routinely provide healthcare services, we believe that long-term care facilities more closely resemble hospitals than typical residences.”
Additionally, it posits that the hazardous waste generated by long-term care establishments don’t meet criteria for their waste to be considered household hazardous waste and generate a greater variety of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals and a greater quantity of hazardous waste than a typical household generates.
EPA is providing notice that if this rule is finalized, long-term care establishments would need to manage their hazardous waste pharmaceuticals in accordance with the healthcare facility specific management standard. It seeks comment on whether this proposed changed to consider long-term care communities to be healthcare facilities instead of households is appropriate. It’s also seeking comment on whether long-term care groups would pass the cost of compliance onto customers.
The current rules stand until the proposed rule is finalized.
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