CLSI revises Clinical Laboratory Waste Management Guidelines

The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) recently published a revised document, Clinical Laboratory Waste Management; Approved Guideline – Third Edition (GP05-A3), which was written for use by laboratory managers and is intended to provide approaches to controlling laboratory-generated hazardous and nonhazardous waste. This revision replaces the 2002 publication of GP05-A2.

This guide to the management of clinical wastes and the wide range of other hazardous and non-hazardous wastes from the clinical (hospital) laboratory makes interesting reading, with what in the UK we would consider rather lax practices that would not fit at all with our various standards and regulatory requirements, and much that is far better and more rigidly controlled that we can manage. Those differences alone make interesting reading, but there is much more of interest that is helpful and thought provoking.

Emphasis is placed on methods for avoiding waste generation (source reduction), and reducing the volume and toxicity of unavoidable wastes (waste minimization), approaches to laboratory waste management that we simply don’t do.

Options for handling, packaging, labeling, storing, recycling, transporting, treating, and disposing of each type of waste are also described. A brief summary of the relevant US federal regulations and laws is included but of course there is no reference to UK waste regulation.

Although this document will serve as a useful resource for a wider audience, it is based on US regulations and is intended for use primarily in the United States. It is nonetheless a source of considerable useful information.

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