Medical Waste Regulations Essay

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Medical Waste Regulations

“Reports of medical debris keep thousands from shore,” Washington Post, July 10,1988. The poor management of medical waste resulted in the wash-up incidents on the Atlantic coast in 1987 and 1988. Following the incidents, the congress passed the Medical Waste Tracking Act of 1988. After a few years, many states responded to the wash-up crisis by formulating their own medical waste regulations. Consequently, New Jersey’s Regulated Medical Waste Management act was passed. This paper succinctly discusses New Jersey’s Regulated Medical Waste Management regulations. Considering the wash-up incidents that happened on the Atlantic coast, the New Jersey’s regulations are stringent enough to prevent such events from happening
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For transportation, the containers have to be marked with the waste generator’s name and address. Even the intermediate handler and transporter have to mark the container with their name and address, NJDEP solid waste registration number, the shipment date, and identification as RMW. The transporter also has to complete a New Jersey Tracking Form initiated by the generator. Moreover, the vehicle that is responsible for carrying the waste is required to have the name of the transporter, the NJDEP solid waste registration number and the words “medical waste” or “infectious waste” on the two sides and the back of the vehicle. If the waste is being transported by rail, then a special tracking form is required. The last stage is the treatment of RMW. The purpose of the treatment is to change the biological composition or the characteristics of the waste so that it is completely harmless or the potential for causing diseases is mitigated. Some of the techniques used for treatment are incineration, steam sterilization, chemical disinfection, irradiation, thermal inactivation or other techniques approved by the state department of health (1). Once the waste is treated and deemed to be harmless, the waste is sent to the landfills or other sites where the waste has to be disposed …show more content…
The first change to be enacted is that the rules regarding home-generated medical waste should be implemented strictly. Although the state of New Jersey has regulations for home-generated medical waste, people are not following the rules properly. This ignorance of rules results in the discharge of injections, lancets, syringes or other sharps, in the normal trash bags or toilets (4). Consequently, the municipal garbage collectors are susceptible to the needle injuries or injuries from any sharps, while handling these garbage bags. New Jersey has a Safe Syringe Disposal Program, but not many people are aware of the program. Thus, more people should be made aware of this program. Another solution for this problem is that every time the patients visit their pharmacies for more syringes or lancets, they should be asked to give the medical waste to the pharmacist. The pharmacist can then dispose of the waste safely. Moreover, if a new patient asks for syringes, the pharmacist should inquire if he/she possesses a sharps container. If he/she does not, then the pharmacist should give one along with the box of lancets or syringes. This practice can ensure safe disposal of the sharp objects and protect the garbage collectors from

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