Medical and Pharmaceutical Wastes
Let?s face it: modern society creates a lot of waste. While many efforts to ?go green? have been successful, some forms of waste are inevitable and cannot be recycled or disposed of easily. In the medical and pharmaceutical industries alone, for example, 400,000 tons of hazardous waste are created each year. What can be done about all this waste? Let?s take a look into the medical waste removal problem:
- Where does this waste come from?
The majority of pharmaceutical waste originates from hospitals, but also comes from doctor?s offices, dental practices, medical research facilities, laboratories, and veterinarian offices. Drug manufacturers likewise produce high amounts of hazardous pharmaceutical waste every year.
Hospitals in developed countries create up to a pound of hazardous pharmaceutical waste per bed per day; while developing nations generate around a half pound each day. Worldwide, this accounts for two million tons of hazardous pharmaceutical waste a year. Types of hospital-created waste include trace chemo waste, sharps waste, and other hazardous pharmaceutical waste.
Even people who use needles and syringes in their homes to treat conditions such as diabetes create an estimated 3 billion used needles? worth of sharps waste each year. Without as many regulations as hospitals or doctor?s offices, these individuals can often dispose of this hazardous sharps waste incorrectly.
- What are the dangers of this waste?
This hazardous pharmaceutical waste can expose health care workers, patients, medical waste disposal company professionals, and even the general public to infectious diseases.
The WHO estimates that almost 25 million people worldwide are contaminated by sharps waste every year. Many of these used needles and syringes carry life-threatening illnesses.
- Medical Waste Removal
Where does all of this waste go? About 90% of medical waste gets incinerated either in a hospital incinerator or by a medical waste disposal company. The remaining pharmaceutical and medical wastes are usually buried in landfills, which is often not the safest method of disposal.
There are many options for safe medical waste disposal, including using the services of a medical waste disposal company. In the US alone, the medical waste removal sector is a 5 billion dollar industry.
Have any tips about choosing a medical waste disposal company? Have any medical waste removal horror stories to share? Leave them in the comments below.