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The Essential and Potentially Dangerous Nature of Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

March 12, 2021

The Essential and Potentially Dangerous Nature of Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal

If you are a human being, it is likely you have been to a hospital, doctor’s office or clinic of some type at least once in your life. Yet, did you know that even the smallest clinic can go through hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds of pharmaceutical waste? With thousands of pharmaceuticals used per day in even the sleepiest office, proper, thorough, and fully compliant pharmaceutical waste disposal is incredibly important.

Yet, for as important as it is, few of us can probably say we know where all this waste goes. Pharmaceutical waste disposal is a delicate job, and companies trusted with it cannot just dump anywhere. Proper pharmaceutical waste disposal must be done properly and within the bounds of your state’s regulatory framework. The chain of custody along the route of pharmaceutical waste is carefully managed.

What makes pharmaceutical waste disposal so specific?

The reason why pharmaceutical waste must be handled so carefully is because it can be quite hazardous. It is quite different from regular trash, so specific procedures must be followed to ensure both public and environmental safety is not compromised. Pharmaceutical waste is not just one type of waste, but rather a combination of many different types. Medical facilities utilize different types of pharmaceutical supplies.

In hospitals specifically, most types of pharmaceutical waste are typically drained, although some pharmaceutical supplies require incineration. Due to the sensitive and potentially hazardous or harmful nature of pharmaceutical waste disposal, methods are constantly evolving. The hazards that the technique has evolved to handle are numerous.

Environmental Hazards
Most pharmaceutical waste is composed of different types of chemicals, which can be harmful to the environment if released. It’s bad enough that pharmaceutical chemicals are not removed from waste-water, resulting in aquatic environmental damage by way of the local sewage system. When pharmaceutical waste makes its way into aquatic environments, it can contaminate the food chain and wind up right back on our kitchen table.

Water Hazards
Because pharmaceutical waste has been polluting water systems at an ever-increasing rate, municipalities have been taking steps to mitigate the problem. Pharmaceutical waste in a municipal water system can be quite dangerous to people and have an even greater impact on wildlife.

Wildlife Hazards
Many studies have documented numerous issues with pharmaceutical waste harming wildlife. Fish contaminated with pharmaceutical waste have been shown to have reproductive issues. While the data in some cases is inconclusive, in most cases pharmaceutical effluent is present within the fish’s fatty tissue. This also has a carry-on effect up the food change. Animals that feed on the fish — including us — themselves become contaminated if pharmaceutical waste disposal is not handled properly.

Keeping Health and Safety in Mind
The fact is this: pharmaceutical waste disposal is very important. No matter the size or application of your healthcare business, if you handle pharmaceutical products during the everyday course of your job, it is critical that you make sure they are disposed of properly. With pharmaceutical waste becoming an increasing problem across the country,and seepages into landfill, wastewater, and sewer lines, it could be that you need an experienced hand to help you properly dispose of your pharmaceutical waste.

That’s where we come in. Here at LB Medwaste, we have been expertly handling and disposing of pharmaceutical waste for a long, long time. If you are looking for pharmaceutical waste disposal in Minnesota that won’t leave you wondering if an environmental disaster is just around the corner, give us a call. Leaving this task in the hands of less-experienced companies could leave you with a mess on your hands. Contact us today for more information!

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