Medical waste is not like other waste. It can contain hazards that are not usually presented by other types garbage or trash. Here are a few reasons that medical waste must be disposed of differently along with some of the most common medical waste disposal methods:
Medical waste, such as needles and probes can be quite sharp. Special care has to be taken to ensure that this type of waste does not puncture through bags or other containers and injure medical employees or waste workers.
Risk of Infection
Because the waste has been collected in a medical environment, it may have come in contact with viral and bacterial pathogens. If it is handled inappropriately, medical waste can infect handlers.
The pathogens present in medical waste may not only contain communicable diseases. They may also be present in high concentrations due to laboratory cultures. The heightened concentrations of pathogenic agents can increase the likelihood of a person becoming infected.
Chemicals, such as the drugs used in chemotherapy, may be considered toxic when not used to treat specific illnesses. Although the medications may have a curative effect on intended illnesses or diseases, they can damage healthy cells.
Human Body Parts
After a limb has been amputated or an organ has been removed, it becomes medical waste. However, because a human body part may sometimes be recognizable, it may have to be disposed of in a manner in which it will be difficult to discern.
What are some suitable methods of medical waste disposal?
Medical waste is usually disposed of using chemicals or heat.
Heat can help eliminate live pathogens within the material. In addition, it can turn the waste to ash.Thus, incineration is a common option.
Incineration involves the exposure of the waste to extremely high temperatures to produce combustion. As the organic component of the waste burns away, the pathogenic hazards associated with the medical waste are often eliminated.
In addition, chemicals can be used to disinfect and dissolve medical waste. Chemicals usually eliminate the infection-producing ability of the waste. Chemical waste disposal is often used for small quantities of waste. Additional chemicals, such as sodium hydroxide, may be used to help reduce or decompose the waste products.
Regardless of the method of ultimate disposal, waste that must be transported to a waste disposal facility must be housed in approved containers before relocation. The containers should adhere to the following:
If you have questions about the disposal of medical waste, contact a waste specialist in your area.
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