Among the most difficult biological wastes to deal with are tissues and carcasses that have been generated in biomedical and pharmaceutical research that contain minute amounts of radioactive isotopes that had been injected into animals to study cell and tissue function, drug localization and metabolism, and toxin localization.
To meet Federal and state regulations for disposal of solid LLRBW, whole carcasses of small animals must be packed in lime and an adsorbent, then sealed in a 30 gallon can. The 30 gallon cans hold approximately 25 kg of animal carcasses. Each 30 gallon can must then be packed in a 55 gallon drum, also filled with adsorbent, and shipped to a licensed low-level radioactive waste (LLRW) burial site. There are only two such sites currently operating in the United States. The cost for shipping and burying each 55 gallon drum containing the can of radioactive carcasses is currently nearly $200 per kilogram.