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Medical and Pharmaceutical Waste for Health Care Facilities

 Dentist working on a patient The management requirements for medical and pharmaceutical waste from health care facilities such as hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, dental offices, long term care facilities and veterinary facilities is established in both the Colorado Regulations Pertaining to Solid Waste Sites and Facilities and the Colorado Hazardous Waste Regulations. 


In addition, certain medical facilities are licensed to use radioactive materials (e.g., radiopharmaceuticals for nuclear medicine procedures) in the diagnosis or treatment of patients.  Such treatment may generate wastes that are also radioactive.  

These facilities must control and handle any radioactive waste in a special manner that goes beyond the requirements for non-radioactive waste materials.  Facilities are required to hold these radioactive wastes until they decay to radiation levels that are equivalent to background and are then surveyed by personnel trained in radiation safety using radiation detection instrumentation. Once decayed, these wastes may be handled like similar non-radioactive wastes. Wastes contaminated by longer-lived radioactive materials may have to be disposed of as radioactive waste through a licensed waste facility or waste broker. Requirements for radioactive waste disposal are contained in the facility's specific radioactive materials license as well as in the Regulations Pertaining to Radiation Control. 


By regulation, each facility licensed for radioactive materials must have identified a Radiation Safety Officer who is knowledgeable in and responsible for all aspects of the radiation safety program at the facility. The Radiation Safety Officer should be the first point of contact for any questions about radioactive waste and radiation safety. 


For more information, contact us at comments.hmwmd@state.co.us .  



Health Care Facilities and Other Medical Waste Generators



Medical Waste Service Providers



Interpretation Letters



Other Resources


Presentations from previous health care facilities workshops