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EPA Rules Target Hazardous Waste Management

hazardous wasteThe EPA yesterday proposed two new hazardous waste rules that the agency says will strengthen environmental protection while reducing regulatory burden on businesses.

One of the proposed rules aims to protect waterways, including drinking and surface water, by preventing the flushing of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals and simplify the requirements for healthcare workers. The EPA says the other rule will provide greater flexibility to industry while requiring new safeguards to protect the public from mismanagement of hazardous waste.

The proposed hazardous waste pharmaceuticals rule will make drinking and surface water safer and healthier by reducing the amount of pharmaceuticals entering US waterways, the agency says. It projects the proposal will prevent the flushing of more than 6,400 tons of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals annually by banning healthcare facilities from flushing hazardous waste pharmaceuticals down the sink and toilet.

The proposed rule creates a specific set of waste management regulations for healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and retail stores with pharmacies and reverse distributors that generate hazardous waste.

The EPA’s proposed generator rule targets environment, health and safety of facilities, employees, and the general public by improving labeling of hazardous waste and emergency planning and preparedness. The proposal will also reduce burden by providing greater flexibility in how facilities and employees manage their hazardous waste and make the regulations easier to understand, the agency says.

Photo Credit: hazardous waste via Shutterstock

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