When not properly managed, medical waste can be very harmful to the environment and to people. Medical waste disposal from a reliable company like Hill Country Medical Waste, is a preferred option for many Texas healthcare facilities. Disposal of medical waste is a complicated process, but it becomes manageable when you have the right company do it with you and for you.
What is Medical Waste?
Medical waste is the waste produced by various health care facilities like clinics, hospital, medical offices, blood banks, nursing homes, autopsy centers, dental offices, and laboratories. Tattoo and Body Art parlors are included, too. Generally, 85% of the waste produced is considered non-hazardous. It becomes dangerous or hazardous when the waste is contaminated by blood or body fluids, possibly infectious when exposed to people and surroundings.
Types of Medical Waste Produced
According to the World Health Organization, there are various sorts of waste which are the following (samples not exhausted list):
This is a type of waste that’s contaminated with blood or body fluids, any waste from patients with infections, or waste from infectious laboratory works. This includes, but not limited to, waste from autopsies, swabs, bandages, and discarded diagnostic samples.
This includes contaminated animal carcass, human tissues, and organs.
These are your disposable scalpels, syringes, and needles.
This may include solvents and reagents used in laboratory preparations, broken batteries, and mercury broken in thermometers.
These are the highly hazardous substances that are mutagenic or carcinogenic such as cytotoxic drugs used in cancer treatments.
This includes products contaminated by radiotherapeutic materials
Non-Hazardous Also Known as General Waste
A type of waste that does not constitute any physical, biological, or radioactive hazard.
Understanding how to segregate these wastes in different facilities is an everyday challenge to all businesses in so many places. Disposing these wastes is another thing. In high-income countries, an average of 0.5 kg of harmful waste is collected per hospital bed per day, making it more difficult to some other countries to even separate the hazardous ones from the rest.
Medical Waste Higher Risk of Infection
The risk of transmitting infection is a primary concern associated with waste management. There are the three types of waste that can impose a higher risk of infectiousness out of all the types of waste enumerated above.
As defined, this contains tissue, organs, and body fluids. Extra precaution is encouraged when handling this type of waste. A few sates, like Texas, has specifically provided a broader range of chemical and thermal treatments for this.
Laboratory or Microbiological Waste
These are generally produced for diagnostic purposes which means that they contain colonies of microorganisms that were cultured and have higher concentration of organisms than those categorized as general waste.
This includes scalpel blades and needles. As they are intentionally made to pierce human skin, there’s a big risk of letting the contamination directly flow to the bloodstream. Because of this, they must be managed properly regardless of the contamination status.
Impacts of Improper Medical Waste Disposal
There are critical health risks to the medical workers and patients when wastes aren’t managed correctly. WHO mentioned some of the noted outcomes:
- injuries caused by sharps
- exposure to pharmaceutical products
- chemical burns related to waste treatment activities, sterilization, or disinfection
- air pollution and thermal injuries as results of medical waste incineration
- radiation burns
The environment must be considered, too. Treatment and disposal of medical waste has high risks through the release toxic pollutants.
- Contamination may happen if landfills are not properly constructed
- Chemical substances are released when treating medical wastes with chemical disinfectants
- Inadequate incineration results in releasing pollutants into the air and in the generation of ash residue
- Modern incinerators operating at 850-1100°C that are fitted with special gas-cleaning equipment can comply with the international emission standards for furans and dioxins
- Alternatives to incineration like microwaving, autoclaving, steam treatment integrated with internal mixing, which minimize the formation and release of chemicals should be given attention in places where sufficient resources are present to operate and maintain such systems and release of the treated waste
Health and Environmental Agencies in Texas
Medical waste is mostly controlled by the state environmental and health agencies after the Medical Waste Tracking Act (MWTA) of 1988 expired in 1991. It is a must to contact these state departments first when disposing medical wastes. In Texas, there are two groups who are dedicated to do these roles.
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is the environmental agency of the state. Their headquarters is in Austin plus 16 regional offices around Texas. The agency exists to protect the public health and natural resources. The goal is clean air, water, and safe handling of waste.
Texas Department of Health (DSHS), on the other hand, is focused on public health with the mission of improving the well-being of Texans, their safety and health. One of the goals is to optimize public health response to outbreaks and disease threats.
There are some Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rules that still apply to infectious and medical waste and Texas is one of 26 states covered entirely by the federal OSHA program. The OHSA rules cover the management of sharps, requirements for containers that keep medical/infectious waste, labeling of infectious waste containers, and employee training.
The rules in Texas are focused on the idea that if waste is properly labeled and packaged decreases the amount of waste that needs to be managed by special means. Abiding to the OSHA and Texas waste management policies can help the state on waste management by ensuring that the waste goes where they should be placed at the time it was produced.
Medical Waste Transporter Registrations
For medical waste generators that choose to do self-transport untreated medical waste must obtain a registration and carefully understand each topic around this waste management process.
There are strict rules to know and follow that’s why most of the facilities that generate medical wastes use the services of authorized transporters in Texas.
Worry No More, Hill Country Medical Waste Disposal is Here For You!
Allowing yourself to have more time to assist people who need medical attention will greatly help your business. Let us take care of safely disposing your medical wastes and worry about how they should be disposed properly in your behalf. It doesn’t have to be complicated for you.
Partner with a company who’s known to be reliable, client-oriented, and known to provide cost-effective service. Having a flexible contract is just one of the many advantages you can enjoy with us. Have worry-free transactions and regular pick-up schedules that will surely help you and your team become more efficient and safer.
Act now and quickly request a FREE quote. We’re here to discuss your options with you. Contact us now!