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THE MANAGEMENT AND COST OF LABORATORY WASTE ASSOCIATED WITH THE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH: Report of a Workshop THE MANAGEMENT AND COST OF LABORATORY WASTE ASSOCIATED WITH THE CONDUCT OF RESEARCH INTRODUCTION On February 10 and 11, 1994, the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) hosted a workshop on the management and cost of laboratory waste associated with the conduct of research. The goal was to identify what, if any, role the Roundtable should play in addressing concerns that waste-handling requirements are becoming so stringent and costly that they are having adverse effects on the pace and scope of research. In particular, the participants were encouraged to identify steps that research laboratories might take to improve waste-handling methods, reduce the volume of waste, eliminate nonproductive requirements, increase awareness about the importance of proper waste management, and enhance communication among all relevant parties without compromising workplace safety and environmental protection. Thirty persons from government, university, and industry participated in the workshop (see Appendix I). They had a wide range of backgrounds including university senior management, research administration, waste management, and researchers, federal and state government regulation and laboratory management; industry regulatory affairs and laboratory management; and legal representation of universities and industry. The agenda for the worshop is provide in Appendix II. The workshop began with a panel discussion on laboratory-waste management concerns. Among the questions addressed in the discussion were these: How do regulations and the costs of managing laboratory waste currently have a substantial impact on the conduct of research? What impact do they have on laboratory practices? Is that impact likely to increase in the future? Panel members were Emmett Barkley, Director, Office of Laboratory Safety, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Lawrence Gibbs, Associate Vice President, Environmental Health and Safety, Stanford University; Robert Stephens, Chief, Hazardous Materials Laboratory, California Environmental Protection Agency; and Douglas Raber, Director, Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, National Research Council. The panel discussion was followed by three discussion sections to identify potential problems, potential solutions, and mechanisms for analyzing the identified problems and solutions. The following issues were addressed: Issue 1: What are the special needs and characteristics of research laboratories, as opposed to other waste producers? Issue 2: What regulatory constraints are faced by laboratories--particularly with regard to waste storage, waste minimization, on-site waste treatment, and mixed-waste disposal? How do federal, state, and local regulations overlap, and how do these jurisdictions coordinate with each other, if at all? Issue 3: What are the costs of waste management, and what are the best mechanisms for managing these costs? How are these costs allocated within research institutions?
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