The Importance of Safe Medical Waste Disposal

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year, approximately 16 billion injections are administered to patients all around the world. But quite often, these needles and syringes are not properly discarded.

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom (UK) alone, more than 100,000 injuries are reported every year where healthcare professionals are accidentally pricked by used syringes or drip needles.

The American Hospital Association revealed that in the United States of America 5,000 major hospitals produced 7,000 tons of medical waste every day. Nearly USD 10 billion were spent annually to dispose of these hazardous as well as general medical waste.

Just imagine, if that was the case in 2015, five years before the world was at the mercy of a deadly pandemic, then what must be the situation now, especially when every single hospital and clinic around the country is working at full capacity?

Improper disposal of medical waste exacerbates the spread of deadly infections and diseases. It is harmful to the health of the medical staff that is working day and night at the hospitals, and for the patients who have been admitted to the hospital.

Let’s look at some of the reasons that will help us understand the importance of safe medical waste disposal.

Medical Waste is Hazardous to Health

Even though WHO recognizes only 15% of all medical waste to be hazardous in nature, the risks posed by it are so great in magnitude that it has the ability to spread viral infections, contagious diseases and start epidemics in worst cases.

Medical waste is inclusive of:

  • Infectious waste: urine, blood and stool samples
  • Pathological waste: human organs, tissues or blood
  • Sharps waste: drip needles, syringes, broken glass, blades and surgical knives
  • Chemical waste: harmful chemicals like bio reactants, disinfectants, drugs, heavy metals, lithium batteries and toxins
  • Pharmaceutical waste: drugs, expired medicines and vaccines
  • Cytotoxic waste: mutated cells, genetically modified micro-organisms, carcinogens, etc.
  • Radioactive waste: radioactive lights and chemicals

As you can see from the list above, all these waste materials pose a threat to human health and safety. Not only are the medical staff at risk, but all those whocome in contact with this waste may also be adversely affected by it. Moreover, infectious diseases are often airborne. If left undisposed, the bacteria and virus could spread through air particles and infect the people who are living nearby these hospitals and dumping grounds.

This is why the importance of safe medical waste disposal increases two folds.

Medical Waste Can Contaminate Soil and Water

Untreated medical waste that is dumped in open landfills or in waterbodies like; lakes, rivers and oceans, contaminates soil and water. Through soil and water, it enters our food chain and harms the health of all those who consume the crops grown on these contaminated soils and eat seafood caught from these contaminated waterbodies.

Apart from human waste and infectious medical equipment, medical waste also contains heavy metals and biohazards like lead, mercury, phosphorus and lithium. Excessive amounts of it in the human body can lead to poisoning and death.

It was found that in the USA alone, almost 400,000 people die every year due to lead exposure. Soil and water contaminated with lead were observed to be the main reasons for this high number of deaths.

Therefore, it is important that hospitals, pharmacies and medical laboratories adopt safe medical waste disposal practices.

Final Word

In order to protect our environment and human lives, it is important that medical waste is disposed of safely. Here at New Jersey Shredding, we understand the importance of safe medical waste disposaland have assembled a team of professionals who are experts at medical waste destruction. For more information on safe medical waste disposal and shredding services, call us at (201) 371-5900and get a free quotation.

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