LabCoP Cookbook Recipe #7: Management of Guanidinium Thiocyanate Containing Waste From Testing Laboratories

May 26, 2023

Safe disposal of laboratory waste is a critical component of good laboratory practice. Molecular diagnostic test services, including HIV viral load (VL) and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing, have the potential to generate guanidinium thiocyanate (GTC), a potentially toxic compound, which requires specialised treatment and disposal. There are growing waste management challenges in many laboratories and health facilities, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), which may lack resources and proper infrastructure, resulting in poor compliance with waste management requirements. 

This recipe, developed by ASLM’s LabCoP and partners, summarises best practices and solutions proven to work for managing GTC waste in the LMICs of Africa. The recipe is particularly important for any programme conducting molecular testing, such as HIV testing programmes, but many best practices are applicable to broader laboratory waste. This recipe is intended to support the implementation of locally feasible strategies, address the risks posed by GTC waste and build the waste management capacity of healthcare workers. Ensuring that a safe and appropriate waste management system is in place for different hazardous materials can help reduce healthcare costs considerably. 

This guide, available in both English and French, is useful and relevant to laboratory professionals, health workers engaged in day-to-day testing, public health experts, program personnel involved in waste management and managers of laboratory directorates, among others.