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EPA Defines Epinephrine Disposal

By CP Editorial Staff November 2007 - Green

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a memorandum that states epinephrine salts are not hazardous waste and do not need to be managed as such. The memorandum clarifies that the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act hazardous-waste regulations do not include epinephrine salts.

This announcement could have significant impact for hospitals because dilute solutions containing epinephrine salts are widely used in local anesthetics, treatment of severe allergic reactions and certain surgeries. Wastes containing epinephrine salt solutions include vials, ampules, bottles, bags, tubing and syringes, all of which can be generated in large amounts.

As a result of the memorandum, hospitals that were previously considered large quantity generators due to epinephrine salts now will be considered small quantity generators. But, most state regulatory agencies are authorized to implement the hazardous waste program in lieu of the federal program, and some states may regulate epinephrine salts more stringently than the federal regulations. Hospitals must check with their state regulatory agencies to determine the classification of epinephrine salts in their states.

The commercial chemical product epinephrine remains listed as an acutely hazardous waste – Hazardous Waste code P042 – and must be managed accordingly. But most, if not all, of the chemical used in hospitals is one of several epinephrine salts.


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