Drugs are classified as hazardous if they may cause cancer, developmental or reproductive
toxicity, or harm to organs at low doses. They include drugs used for cancer chemotherapy
(also called antineoplastics), antiviral drugs, hormones, some bioengineered drugs and
other various drugs. To determine if a drug is classified as hazardous check the
NIOSH List of Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous
Drugs in Healthcare Settings (2014).
Follow safety precautions when working with hazardous drugs. These include
use of exhausted enclosures, procedures to avoid personal exposure and contaminating surfaces,
personal protective equipment (PPE), and training of personnel in hazard awareness and safe
Federal and state regulations and guidelines exist for the use, handling, storage, treatment, and
disposal of hazardous drugs in clinical and research settings. EH&S has developed guidance that includes
procedures for safety, compliance, and best practices. For research involving hazardous
drugs at UW, follow these guidelines:
For veterinary clinical care, use the Veterinary
Hazardous Drug Program Guide from Washington State Labor & Industries.
Manage chemotherapy (chemo) and hazardous drug waste separately from other
waste streams such as biohazardous waste. Chemo/hazardous drug waste should not be autoclaved. Collect chemo/hazardous
drug waste as either trace or non-trace waste as defined below.
"Trace" refers to empty containers or containers
that have less than 3% of the original quantity of drug remaining, such as sharps, empty syringes, and vials.
An "empty" container is one in which all contents have been removed by normal means such as aspiration, pouring, or flushing.
Trace Chemo/Hazardous Drug Waste Collection
Collect in yellow sharps waste container:
- sharps with trace chemo/hazardous drugs
- sharps with trace chemo/hazardous drugs and biohazards
- empty chemo/hazardous drug vials and containers (<3% of original quantity)
Label as "trace chemo waste" with PI name and
room number (label template available). Containers are available for purchase
from Biochemistry stores or from
lab/medical supply vendors. See Sharps
and Laboratory Glass for sharps definitions.
Trace Chemo/Hazardous Drug Waste Disposal
All trace chemo and hazardous drug waste generated at the University of Washington is collected and shipped off site
for disposal by incineration at a regulated facility. Before preparing waste for shipment,
the person preparing the waste must complete the EH&S Shipping
Regulated Medical Waste class. Waste generators can set up an account for shipping trace chemo waste at
Medical Waste Vendor Collection Set Up.
Non-trace chemo/hazardous drug waste refers to unused or expired drugs, containers with more than
trace amounts of chemo/hazardous drug, contaminated PPE, and contaminated items from preparation,
use, and clean-up. Dispose of non-contaminated PPE and other items in the trash.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) P-listed drugs are acutely hazardous drugs regulated by federal law.
Handle all P-listed drug waste (including empty containers and trace amounts) as non-trace chemo/hazardous drug waste.
P-listed chemo/hazardous drugs include:
||Constituent of Concern
||Product Name Examples
||Warfarin and salts (>0.3%)
||Adrenaline, EpiPen, Eppy/N, Epifrin, Epinal, Anaphylaxis kit, Epinephrine, Racepinephrine, Racord, Primatene inhaler
||Nicotine and salts
||Nicotine patches, Habitrol, Nicoderm, Nicorette, Nicotrol, Tetrahydronicotyrine
Source: WA State Dept. of Ecology RCRA list
Non-Trace and P-Listed Waste Collection
Collect for pickup by EH&S:
- unused or expired chemo/hazardous drugs
- containers with more than trace amounts of chemo/hazardous drugs
- P-listed drugs and empty containers
- sharps with P-listed drugs
- visibly contaminated items from preparation, use, and clean-up (PPE, pads, etc.)
Non-Trace and P-Listed Waste Disposal
All non-trace chemo/hazardous drug and P-listed drug waste generated at the University of Washington is
collected by EH&S Environmental Programs and shipped off site for disposal by incineration at a regulated
RCRA facility. To request a collection of non-trace waste, visit the EH&S
Hazardous Chemical Waste website.
The "Sharps Waste Poster" poster is available for download! Print in color and display for
guidance on sharps waste disposal. Download and print from Adobe Acrobat for best results.
For questions regarding chemo/hazardous drug waste collection and disposal, contact an EH&S
occupational health and safety specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206.543.7388. To request
pickup of non-trace waste, visit the EH&S Hazardous Chemical Waste website.