AVMA decides against producing hazardous waste database

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The AVMA will not develop a hazardous waste product database, based on results of a survey that indicated such a database would not be widely enough used to justify the expense.

The AVMA Executive Board decided in early April not to pursue development of such a service. Information provided to the board indicates that, of the approximately 200 veterinarians who responded to the survey, about 71 percent thought regulatory agencies were the most important sources for information on waste disposal, 71 percent had workplace procedures on hazardous materials, 87 percent were unaware of an Environmental Protection Agency list of regulated hazardous wastes, 80 percent had not used free online sites intended to aid proper waste disposal, and about 65 percent were unaware of online EPA resources on regional and state regulations. The survey had about an 11 percent response rate.

Dr. Kristi Henderson, an assistant director in the AVMA Scientific Activities Division, said information gathered through the survey will help the AVMA aid members through other efforts, such as the waste disposal guidance on the AVMA's website.

"While the survey results do not support the development of a hazardous waste product database at this time, they do reveal key opportunities for the AVMA in enhancing the membership's awareness and understanding of the current regulations pertaining to hazardous substances and wastes," Dr. Henderson said.

In November 2010, the Executive Board had approved using existing AVMA resources to determine whether such a database were needed by veterinarians. The board had also approved an education campaign regarding hazardous substances and wastes.

Through that campaign, the AVMA provides information at avma.org/issues/environment/wastedisposal/ on related subjects including hazardous material handling and disposal, regulated medical waste, and disposal of animal carcasses. The site is intended to help veterinarians comply with current regulations and provides links to additional handling and disposal resources from the AVMA, government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations.