While all kinds of waste pose risks to our world, medical waste can be especially dangerous. Medical waste can spread illness and infection, cause injury, and be harmful for the environment.
There are several categories of medical waste. Each category should be segregated and handled accordingly. The government and local agencies provide safe disposal guidelines for medical waste, however it is up to the waste generator to understand the categories and dispose of them safely.
Guidelines and definitions can vary based on your location. Professional training and a reliable waste management company can help you comply with medical waste disposal laws. Failure to comply can result in fines, penalties, and negative environmental impacts.
The Importance of Medical Waste Disposal
Most medical waste is generated by healthcare facilities, labs, research centers, blood banks, autopsy centers, and nursing homes. Medical waste includes a wide variety of materials from human tissues and medications to chemical solvents. The potential hazards of medical waste include harmful microorganisms and toxic pollutants.
It is important to properly dispose of medical waste to protect human health, safety, and the environment.
When medical waste is thrown into landfills, it can leach harmful substances into the air, ground, and water. Over time, the potency of the contamination grows and becomes more dangerous. As water flows through the contaminated soil, pollutants enter into rivers, streams, and the ocean. Human drinking water then becomes compromised and our wildlife is exposed to toxins.
The effects of a contaminated water supply can lead to an increase in birth defects, cancer risks, and a number of other health problems. It can also effect crop growth and the durability of our food supply.
Medical professionals, their support staff, and waste workers are at the highest risk for exposure to medical waste. Incorrect disposal of medical waste can cause needlestick injuries or contact with infectious waste. Devastating diseases like Hepatitis, HIV, Ebola, Malaria, and Syphilis can be spread through medical waste. These diseases can have life-long effects and cause death.
The CDC also refers to medical waste disposal as a national security issue. It is not uncommon for health care facilities and labs to develop bioterrorism response strategies and capacities. Safe laboratory practices and medical waste disposal prevents misuse of these biologicals, whereas poor disposal practices could amplify an attack.
Federal and state laws exist to regulate medical waste disposal. Proper handling and compliance with OSHA standards should always be a priority in your facility.
Medical waste must be rendered non-infectious before being taken to a landfill. Steam sterilization or incineration can be completed by an approved medical waste disposal company. Your waste management provider should comply with all applicable guidelines for medical waste disposal.
Taking additional steps to protect the environment and your patients will also help build a positive reputation for your organization. Today, there are many choices in the medical industry and consumers prefer to support companies that care about their well-being and sustainability for the future.
It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with medical waste regulations regarding handling and disposal. Understanding your disposal needs will help you select safe disposal solutions to protect your community, staff, and the environment.
Find Medical Waste Disposal Services Near You
Medical Waste Pros offers safe solutions for all of your medical waste disposal needs. We follow all federal and state regulations to maintain compliance and keep you safe. We also offer training resources to enable your staff to work safely. Give us a call at (888) 755-6370 or fill out the form to connect with providers near you and receive free quotes on our services.