Why Proper Disposal of Medical Waste Saves Lives
Apr 21, 2017
According to the World Health Organization, 85% of the waste generated by the healthcare industry is general, non-hazardous waste, while the remaining 15% is classified as hazardous. 100% of these materials need to be disposed of properly to minimize and eliminate health risks for everyone, not just those who work directly with medical waste! Being educated on this matter is the first step to minimizing the healthcare risks involved.
What is medical waste?
Hospitals, laboratories, health research centers, and blood banks are the highest producers of medical waste. The most common types of waste generated by these facilities are:
- Infectious waste, which includes any waste contaminated with bodily fluids (diagnostic samples, cultures, swabs, bandages, disposable medical devices).
- Sharps, which are needles, blades, and syringes and can be dangerous whether they are used or unused.
- Pathological waste, including human organs, tissue, body parts, and animal carcasses.
- Radioactive waste, which are products contaminated by the use of radioactive diagnostic materials.
- Non-hazardous waste, or waste that is not biologically, chemically, radioactively, or physically hazardous.
Who is affected?
Unfortunately, you don’t have to work in the medical or waste removal fields to be at risk when medical waste is disposed of improperly. Garbage and recycling facility workers who are not responsible for hazardous medical waste removal are at risk when medical waste is disposed of via general waste disposal, as they are not equipped with the proper safety tools to handle this type of waste. The water and air you come in contact with every day can become contaminated when toxic elements are released during incineration. In short, when medical waste disposal practices aren’t carried out safely, everyone is at risk.
How can we minimize health risks?
Professionals in the medical waste management field, along with the government and general public can do their part to minimize the health risks associated with improper medical waste disposal. The strategies we can use to promote healthier waste management are:
- by using the safest and most environmentally friendly waste management options available
- by building a waste management system that continually addresses resource allocation, responsibilities, and waste handling and disposal
- by educating ourselves on the hazards of improper medical waste removal and raising awareness (even on a local level) about the risks involved and safe practices necessary.
Biomedical Waste Services proudly provides Maryland and the surrounding areas with regulated medical waste solutions. We are dedicated to practicing only the safest and most environmentally friendly disposal techniques and constantly strive to minimize health risks associated with waste disposal of all kinds. For more information, contact our professionals today!
"I’ve been using Biomedical Waste Services, Inc. for nearly 20 years! I’ve had superior customer service since day one with no surprises on our invoices."
- Dr. Kim