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What is an Acute Hazardous Waste?

What is an Acute Hazardous Waste?

The term acute hazardous waste  appears infrequently in the RCRA regulations, but where it does it is important for you to know what it is and how its presence affects the regulations.Unlike many other terms used throughout the RCRA regulations, acute hazardous waste cannot be found in the Definitions section of 40 CFR 260.10.  Instead of a definition, an explanation may be found at 40 CFR 261.11 – Criteria for listing hazardous waste.  40 CFR 261.11(a)(2) reads:  “It has been found to be fatal to humans in low doses or, in the absence of data on human toxicity, it has been shown in studies to have an oral LD 50 toxicity (rat) of less than 50 milligrams per kilogram, an inhalation LC 50 toxicity (rat) of less than 2 milligrams per liter, or a dermal LD 50 toxicity (rabbit) of less than 200 milligrams per kilogram or is otherwise capable of causing or significantly contributing to an increase in serious irreversible, or incapacitating reversible, illness. (Waste listed in accordance with these criteria will be designated Acute Hazardous Waste.)”

Luckily, the determination of which waste meet this criteria has already been done for us by the USEPA.  Note that the name of section 261.11 is “Criteria for listing hazardous waste”, therefore, an acute hazardous waste must be a listed hazardous waste pursuant to 40 CFR 261, Subpart D.  Each hazardous waste listed in Subpart D has a Hazard Code assigned to it that identifies the basis for its listing; a listed acute hazardous waste is to be identified by an ‘H’.  A review of Subpart D reveals the following listed hazardous wastes that are also an acute hazardous waste:

Read this article to ensure the proper determination of P and U-listed hazardous waste.

If you don’t generate these types of listed hazardous waste, then you may disregard the more stringent regulations of 40 CFR 262.34 that pertain to generators of acute hazardous waste.

Contact me with questions you may have about acute hazardous waste, the RCRA regulations, or the training requirements for large quantity generators of hazardous waste.