Improperly disposing of pharmaceuticals creates potentially dangerous consequences with one of the greatest threats causing danger to humans and animals. Improper pharmaceutical waste disposal also causes staggering consequences to the environment. Improper handling, storage or disposal of pharmaceutical waste creates hazards within the workplace as well as safety hazards to the environment such as significant contamination of groundwater.
Improper disposal of pharmaceutical waste can occur in healthcare for humans and animals and as described in an article by the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, pharmaceuticals show up in rivers and lakes from wastewater treatment plants. This contaminated water can leach out of landfills and septic systems where improper disposal of pharmaceuticals occur and even invade livestock farms and fields.
Consequences of Improper Disposal of Pharmaceutical Waste
There are many alarming consequences due to the improper disposal of pharmaceutical waste such as:
- Contamination of water supplies affects aquatic life and wildlife as well as safe drinking water for humans.
- Expired medications that are stockpiled have the potential to end up in the wrong hands including children and animals.
- Some medications such as chemotherapy drugs or non-biodegradable antibiotics can potentially kill bacteria needed for healthy sewage treatment. Some antineoplastic drugs as well as disinfectants endanger aquatic life as well as contaminate drinking water.
- Proper incineration methods can be compliant although burning pharmaceuticals at incorrect temperatures or in the wrong types of containers can release toxins into the air.
- Improper disposal of pharmaceutical waste without drug destruction can promote drug diversion and illegal activities including the resale of drugs for unintended purposes.
Fines for Improper Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal
Improper pharmaceutical waste disposal can lead to the loss of licensing for healthcare facilities as well as a tarnished reputation and costly financial fines and penalties. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued regulations for proper pharmaceutical waste disposal in the Code of Federal Regulations, CFR 40. The EPA can fine facilities anywhere from $10,000-$25,000 per violation for each day of noncompliance. The Department of Transportation (DOT) can fine facilities that violate pharmaceutical waste transportation rules up to $15,000 per violation. According to an article in Lion Technology, Inc., a hospital in Wisconsin was fined $360,000 for violating pharmaceutical waste disposal regulations.
The disposal of hazardous waste as regulated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) can have significant fines for noncompliance of hazardous pharmaceutical waste with fines that were previously capped at $37,500 and recently increased to $70,117 per day.
It is clearly evident that the consequences of improper pharmaceutical waste disposal are significant, with dangers to humans and animals through environmental contamination and drug diversion contributing to an opioid epidemic in the United States. In addition to health and safety dangers, fines to facilities are extremely costly and can ruin their reputation.
Stay Compliant with Proper Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal
C2R Global Manufacturing, Inc., offers safe and easy to use pharmaceutical waste disposal products with Rx Destroyer™. Rx Destroyer™ quickly begins to neutralize medications with a patented* chemical of activated carbon which destroys drugs through chemical digestion, a method approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Rx Destroyer™ is available in a wide range of product sizes to meet the needs of any type of facility, is safe and easy to use. Rx Destroyer™ never requires the use of batteries, water and is available with no contracts. Contact us today to learn more about safe and compliant drug disposal that prevents costly consequences.