Specific waste: Inhalers
Inhalers come in a variety of forms. The most commonly seen are either aerosol metered-dose inhalers, which contain a chemical propellant, or a dry powder inhaler. The aerosol metered-dose inhalers with chloro-fluorocarbons (CFC) as the propellant are being phased out of production by the US FDA by the end of 2013, 21 CFR Part 2.
Unused inhalers: Discontinued, outdated or unused and unopened, the product should be returned to the pharmacy to determine if it can be returned for credit with the Reverse Distributers. If it can’t be returned for credit, it is a non-viable pharmaceutical waste inhaler.
Partially used inhalers: When products have been opened and only partially used they become a non-viable pharmaceutical waste.
Empty inhalers: Empty inhalers contain no product and no pressure. For designation and waste management, please see Specific Wastes: Empty containers
Designation of waste inhalers
RCRA hazardous inhaler waste: Includes any non-viable formulations that designate under the RCRA Characteristics of Ignitability, Corrosivity, Reactivity or Toxicity (Chapter 173-303-090 WAC). Please see Pharmaceutical Designation Flowchart
State-only dangerous waste: You can assume any non-viable inhalers that are not RCRA hazardous waste are State-only dangerous waste. To determine it is not a State-only dangerous waste, you must know the concentration of all the constituents as well as the acute toxicity information of those ingredients, Chapter 173-303-100 WAC. Please see Pharmaceutical Designation Flowchart
Management of waste inhalers
Viable inhalers: inhalers that are eligible for credit from a manufacturer, wholesaler, or reverse distributor are a viable pharmaceutical and not considered waste. Viable pharmaceuticals include any unused and/or unopened pharmaceutical that receive a credit. Items not receiving a credit must be managed as a non-viable waste.
RCRA hazardous waste: Dispose as a dangerous waste at a RCRA-permitted facility.
State-only dangerous waste: Dispose as either a dangerous waste at a RCRA-permitted facility or as excluded waste at an incinerator meeting the criteria of the conditional exclusion Chapter 173-303-071(3)(nn) WAC.
Note: It is a violation of the Dangerous Waste Regulations to dispose of these pharmaceuticals in the sewer, in a sharps container, or in a regulated medical waste container destined for landfill.Resources:
Copyright © Washington State Department of Ecology. See http://www.ecy.wa.gov/copyright.html.