Why Is Special Care Needed for Disposal of Cytotoxic Waste in Hospitals?

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A health facility admits diverse patients diagnosed with varied health issues. Treatment procedures are not the same for all either. It is important to note that cytotoxic and cytostatic medications are used by specialized health centers for the treatment of severe, life-threatening conditions. It is interesting to note that both cytostatic and cytotoxic medication is used as a tool to fight cancer. While the former prevents the growth of cancer cells, especially the proliferation of cells of a tumor, the latter is used to kill cancerous cells while shielding the healthy ones as far as possible. Unfortunately, the administration of such drugs results in the generation of an enormous amount of waste.

It is therefore imperative to ensure speedy disposal of cytotoxic waste in hospitals due to the highly toxic nature of the waste products. The patient, doctor, and assisting medical personnel is all at risk when using these drugs. Every equipment along with PPE items is believed to be contaminated after a single-use. Disposing of the biohazards effectively is certainly a challenge for cancer hospitals and other facilities involved in the treatment of cancer patients and those diagnosed with life-threatening conditions.

Classification of Cytotoxic Waste

The EPA considers all cytotoxic waste products as extremely hazardous to humans and animals. All containers used to store the drugs before administration as well as the equipment used during the procedure are regarded as waste.

Purple color storage containers are used to hold such waste products. They are kept away from the public and in secluded areas that are not open to visitors or outside personnel.

All bodily fluids and secretions from the patient are collected and kept segregated or a week after the procedure. Vomit, feces, urine, and other fluids from the body are considered to be cytotoxic wastes too. The material used to clean the patient must be discarded with all cytotoxic wastes as well.

Required Care before transportation of cytotoxic waste to the pre-determined site of disposal may be delegated to a professional company adept at providing superior disposal of all kinds of biomedical waste including those generated after chemotherapy.

Licensed professionals will ensure the usage of:-

  • Proper cytotoxic waste containers of the required capacity
  • The containers are double checked before usage to ensure no leaks and leak points that may cause sharp objects to pierce through the cover
  • Sure, purple containers have been used to date for transportation of cytotoxic waste, yet modern procedures favor using reusable containers that are tamper-proof.
  • Smooth process followed from the point of generation to disposal of all biohazards including the high-risk cytotoxic waste.
  • Trained team members of the waste disposal company are used to carry the waste and retain them in containers after segregation. No touch or no contact is enforced strictly to prevent all possibilities of infection

The extremely hazardous nature of the substances makes disposal of cytotoxic waste in hospitals a challenging task that needs to be handled only by trained and experienced professionals.

The enormous risk associated with the waste makes incineration at high temperatures the best possible way to dispose of such toxic materials.


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