Cytotoxic Drugs | Canadian Union of Public Employees

Cytotoxic Waste Disposal


Disposal of cytostatic/cytotoxic drugs waste is required on occasion in some research laboratories.

Many such wastes can be most safely and conveniently destroyed chemically in the laboratory. Destruction of the waste at the point of generation/use eliminates any risk to other personnel (such as those who deal with waste disposal), and helps minimise the quantity of waste generated.

Other cytotoxic related waste (such as contaminated sharps) is best sent for incineration.

Disposal of cytotoxic wastes

A number of organisations have internet sites which provide information on the disposal of cytotoxic drugs and solutions thereof. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have produced a number of publications on the disposal of such substances. The WHO has published many of these procedures on the internet abstracted from two IARC monographs:

  • IARC (1983). Laboratory decontamination and destruction of carcinogens in laboratory wastes: some hydrazines. Lyon, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC Scientific Publications, No. 54)
  • IARC (1985). Laboratory decontamination and destruction of carcinogens in laboratory wastes: some antineoplastic agents. Lyon, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC Scientific Publications, No. 73)

General wastes contaminated with cytotoxic substances (gloves, plastic bags, consumables etc) can be disposed of in commercially available cytotoxic waste bins, through licensed waste disposal contractors. These bins are collected periodically and the contents incinerated.



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