Cytotoxic and Hazardous Waste Handling and Disposal

For those facilities that order mitomycin, 5-FU and other cytotoxic drugs from JCB Laboratories, you have likely noticed that JCB ships these products in yellow bags clearly marked as “Cytotoxic”.  It is important to realize that cytotoxics and hazardous drugs should be handled and disposed of according to current national guidelines.  If your facility does not currently have a cytotoxic/hazardous drug handling and disposal program then one should be developed.  All personnel who handle and/or dispose of cytotoxic and/or hazardous drugs should be trained on proper identification of their properties, handling requirements, location of Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) binders, and accidental spill or contact procedures.

Cytotoxics and/or hazardous drugs can be disposed in two types of containers:  1) clearly marked yellow sharps containers, or 2) black universal drug waste containers.  An absorbent material should be placed in the bottom of the containers.  Some facilities use paper towels and I have heard of others that use a special absorbent material similar to kitty litter.  The absorbent material is to prevent aerosolization of any residual liquids into the facility air or accidental spillage if the containers are knocked over.  Each facility should be contracted with a certified disposal service that can pick up and dispose of the containers according to current EPA guidelines.  There are several companies that provide this service and it is likely that you are already using a company to pick up your biohazard waste.  

More detailed information can be located at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) web site:


If you do not currently have policy and procedures for handling cytotoxics and hazardous drugs, your consultant pharmacist may be a good resource to help you develop them.  

Written by Newport Beach Compounding Center Staff

As one of the most experienced compounding pharmacies in Newport Beach, We provide a valuable service working together with physicians and patients to create medications tailored to specific requirements. We are specialists in the art and science of pharmacy compounding. Our Team of experts can meet all of your unique pharmaceutical needs.

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