cytotoxic waste bin

Cytotoxic waste is toxic to the cells that make up all living organisms and have mutagenic properties. As a result, it is classified as extremely hazardous waste that can wreak havoc on a local ecosystem’s humans and animals. Apart from including chemicals that are cytotoxic in themselves, this waste also includes sharps, equipment, and other items that may have been in contact with such chemicals. Cytotoxic drugs are commonly used in modern medicine, and therefore it is vital for healthcare professionals to learn about cytotoxic waste and how to dispose of it.

What Qualifies as a Cytotoxic Drug?

 Medicines belonging to the class of antineoplastics are commonly considered cytotoxic, but this can also include other drugs such as hormone regulatory drugs, steroids, etc. In most hospitals, these are administered to cancer patients since the disease includes abnormal cell growth that causes various illnesses. Cytotoxic materials can therefore kill these abnormal cells quickly and control the spread of the disease.

Unfortunately, these drugs are not able to target any specific area of the body and therefore produce various side effects for the patients and others who are exposed to them. Some common side effects causing properties of cytotoxic drugs include:

  • Carcinogenic: While meant to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, they also have the potential to cause cancer.
  • Mutagenic: Cytotoxic drugs can cause severe genetic mutations.
  • Acutely Toxic: Even a small exposure to cytotoxic substances can cause severe reactions.
  • Toxic for Reproduction: These substances have the potential to inhibit sexual function.


Some common examples of cytotoxic drugs are:

  • Anastrozole
  • Letrozole
  • Tamoxifen
  • Bleomycin
  • Hydroxycarbamide
  • Doxorubicin

Tips for Handling Cytotoxic Wastes

  • Cytotoxic drugs must always be prepared and administered by trained medical waste professionals.
  • Medical personnel working with cytotoxic drugs must wear protective gear, including gowns, masks, gloves, shows, head covers, and goggles. All of this gear must be disposed of after use as cytotoxic waste.
  • Solid wastes that are contaminated by cytotoxic drugs must always be disposed of in an impenetrable and locked container.
  • The waste containers that are used to store cytotoxic waste bins must be cleaned after every use and properly maintained.
  • Drivers assigned to transport the waste must be informed that they are transporting hazardous waste.
  • Any cytotoxic drugs that haven’t yet been administered and opened from their containers need to be returned to the pharmacy where they were bought from.

How is Cytotoxic Waste Treated?

Treating cytotoxic waste is equally complicated as in certain regions, it is directly incinerated, while in others, it is first treated and then incinerated. Your contractor will be able to help you decide the right course of action and help maintain compliance with the NHS regulations.

Final Thoughts

Disposing of cytotoxic wastes can be an extremely risky endeavour. Hiring a professional waste disposal solution manager such as Trikon Commercial Waste can help you get a reliable partner for the job.

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