What You Need to Know about Medical Waste Disposal

What you need to know about medical waste disposal

Since the 1988 Medical Waste Tracking Act expired in 1991, individual states’ environmental agencies now govern and accept responsibility for Medical Waste. The EPA does not have the congressional authority to oversee these processes, but they are monitored under regulations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For more detailed information about this subject you can check the EPA website at https://www.epa.gov/rcra/medical-waste. Medical waste consists of materials discarded at hospitals, clinics, doctors’ offices, dental offices, blood banks, veterinary clinics, laboratories and medical research facilities. These disposables generally are contaminated by blood or body fluids or other potentially infectious materials. This also includes sharps from injection needles. Most hospitals and medical offices and facilities have strict guidelines for the disposal and handling of any medical waste material. Special containers are provided for the proper disposal of these items by regulated companies that properly collect them and the EPA’s Hospital Medical Infectious Waste Incinerator regulations governed final disposal until emission standards for these incinerators were found to be too hazardous to air quality. Now many disposables are treated by microwave heating or a type of steam cleaning among other methods. This prevents exposure to used needles, syringes or blood borne pathogens or infectious materials. All medical, housekeeping and janitorial and waste management personnel and any other personnel working in a medical environment must receive proper training in the handling and reporting of medical waste and these training guidelines are visibly posted and updated as necessary. If you are concerned about any of these issues in your workplace, please contact your supervisor for clarification or check with your state’s environmental health agency for guidance. Even private residences may have need for medical waste disposal options if you have someone who is diabetic and uses needles regularly or other health conditions requiring monitoring and disposal. You can contact your physician’s office for advice and some pharmacies can provide you a container for sharps (needles) if needed. Medical Waste disposal must be properly handled to prevent infection and exposure to disease. Always err on the side of caution. If you need a company to collect medical waste, such as a crime scene cleanup services in Phoenix provider, you can easily find which companies are in your area on the internet or you may contact your local and state environmental offices for advice and assistance or to report any hazards you find. In public areas such as parks, do not touch used syringes without gloves and if you see this material regularly, contact your local police department for advice. Instruct children never to touch these items. Protect yourself, your community and your neighbors by knowing and following all safety guidelines.