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Importance of Correct Cytotoxic Waste Disposal

by Ruben Trevor

The world is seriously starting to wake up to the importance of correct waste disposal and reducing the amount of waste which is being generated. There is so much that we can do with regards to the way in which we create and recycle waste, and collectively we can have huge impact on reducing our overall waste generation. There are some areas however where it is more difficult to reduce the amount of waste which we create, such as medical facilities. Biomedical and biohazardous waste is a highly sensitive area and within this category there is a lot of legal requirements for how we should be managing the waste. Today in particular we are going to focus on cytotoxic waste disposal and why it is so important that we do so in adherence with the legal guidelines which have been set out.

What is Cytotoxic Waste?

This particular form of waste is what is considered as being toxic to the the cells of the body. Usually this will include materials, equipment and even residue which have been contaminated by cytotoxic drugs. In the main this refers to equipment which is used in the treatment of cancer patients, and this waste is also often referred to as chemotherapy waste.

General Practice For Processing Waste

In almost all cases with this kind of waste we see it sent to large scale industrial incinerators and burned. Once the waste is burned to ash, it will then be removed, bagged up and sent off to what is called sanitary landfill. These sites where this landfill is collected,. Are monitored at all times as well as being gated and locked in order to ensure that it remains secure.

Large Scale Health Risks

All medical waste must be treated and managed in a certain way, but when it comes to cytotoxic waste there is even more importance placed on the management of this waste product. The reason for this is that the mishandling of this waste could present a very real danger to the public. In fact there are large scale health risks which this waste could present if it is not dealt with correctly. Across many impoverished regions around the world, we see communities relying on landfill sites for sustenance, and one of the major concerns here is the proximity which they have to cytotoxic waste. Aside from the very clear issue of impoverished communities, this goes to show exactly what dangers are presented when it comes to the mishandling of cytotoxic waste.

It is critical that the government remains on top of the regulations and legal requirements around this kind of waste, as well as paying close attention to the companies which work in the management, handling and treatment of all cytotoxic waste. There is little which we can do to reduce the quantity of this kind of waste, but there is certainly much that we should be doing in order to ensure that we are protecting ourselves from the potential risks which this waste can present.

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