Over the last few decades, the use of disposable medical products in healthcare facilities has become the norm. This comes as no surprise to anyone in the field, healthcare officials have treated this as standard practice because disposable products are much more sterile, and in many cases, they’re easier to use. But with the upsurge in use of disposable medical products, comes an upsurge of waste and a need for medical waste removal. Many people, although it’s illegal, continue to dump medical waste instead of contacting a medical waste management service and have it properly disposed of. The obvious problem with this is, all of the this highly contaminated medical waste takes a serious toll on the earth and its inhabitants?humans, plants, and animals! Medical waste disposal is something that often slips the average person’s mind when at the clinic, but here are a few compelling reasons why medical waste services aren’t just something to write off?they’re essential for a healthy planet and healthy people, all over the world.
According to the World Health Organization, medical waste is broken down as follows:
Infectious wastes: cultures and stocks of infectious agents, wastes from infected patients, waste products contaminated with blood and other bodily fluids, discarded diagnostic samples, infected animals from labs, bandages, and equipment. Anatomic wastes: recognizable body parts and or animal carcasses. These two types are the most hazardous wastes and represent 15% of the total health-care waste. Sharps or syringes, disposable scalpels, needles, blades, etc are 1% of health care waste. In addition to those three, there is also chemical waste (cleaners, solvents, disinfectants, etc.), pharmaceutical waste (expired, residual, contaminated and often very powerful drugs). These two equal about 3% of medical waste. But that’s not all the medical waste?you also are contending with Genotoxic waste or extremely powerful and toxic mutagenic, teragenic or carcinogenic substances, and the cytotoxic drugs used in cancer treatment. Radioactive medical waste is also something to worry about. This can be glassware contaminated with radioactive diagnostic equipment. The WHO goes on to say that in the world’s wealthier nations, each person treated in a medical facility uses a total 6kg of hazardous waste per year.
If the thought of the aforementioned substances, infectious agents, and medical waste isn’t convincing you that medical waste services are vital then maybe this will:
Worldwide, 8-16 million hepatitis B, 2.3 to 4.6 million hepatitis C, and 80,000 to 160,00 HIV infections are said to happen yearly due to the re-use of needles not being disposed of properly.
Medical waste services exist as a means to reduce the release of these toxic and infectious pollutants into the environment and into the lives of healthy people. These medical waste services can include something like incineration of wastes. This popular technique has been improved upon, and there are now even more effective techniques like autoclaving, chemical treatment and microwaving.
All in all, if you are a representative of a healthcare facility, it is extremely important that your clinic, hospital, nursing home, etc is utilizing professional medical waste services. One clinic doing the right thing, can make a huge difference.
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