Typically, biomedical waste refers to any trash that contains infectious material. Healthcare facilities treat any waste with blood or other bodily fluids as infectious. Moreover, many regulatory authorities have specific guidelines for dealing with such material.
Biomedical waste can be harmful, which is why regulatory bodies emphasize proper disposal procedures. There have been cases where biomedical waste has turned up on beaches because of tides carrying it over. For instance, in 1988, the syringe tide disaster occurred, where waves brought medical waste such as hypodermic needles onto the beaches in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. People were shocked, causing a severe backlash to ensue. The controversy resulted in the closure of the Atlantic beaches until officials addressed the problem.
Regulatory authorities and state governments aren’t keen on a repeat incident, which is why they’ve tightened regulations. Hospitals and other healthcare facilities must now strictly adhere to the set guidelines or risk facing fines.
The Dangers of Biomedical Waste
Experts have determined that biomedical waste doesn’t pose a significant risk to the public. However, there are risks through coming into contact with people suffering from occupational hazards, such as doctors, nurses, healthcare administrators, etc.
According to the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration, 5.6 million healthcare workers are at risk of exposure from improperly disposed of sharps and other biomedical waste.
Types of Biomedical Waste Disposal
Disposing biomedical waste safely and appropriately is essential. Otherwise, you risk posing threats to healthcare workers, the community, and the environment. Here are several ways biomedical waste disposal occurs:
The process of autoclaving involves steam sterilization. Autoclaving applies hot steam for a determined amount of time to destroy microorganisms. Autoclaving is a commonly used method of biomedical waste disposal because of its cost-effectiveness and low personal health risks. While you can’t dispose of all biomedical waste using autoclaving, you can sanitize approximately 90 percent of materials using this process.
Incineration is a quick and straightforward way to dispose of biomedical waste. Experts note the process’s efficiency at removing trash and killing microorganisms. Unfortunately, this method exudes significant amounts of emissions and can be detrimental to the health of employees. Some states recommend waste disposal companies look at incineration as the first option. However, you must note that you can’t incinerate all biomedical waste.
Most medical waste removal companies prefer using chemicals for liquid waste. Chemical disinfection usually utilizes chlorine to kill microorganisms and pathogens. You can also use chemicals for solid waste. However, you’ll have to grind solid waste first to ensure maximum decontamination.
This process mixes water with shredded waste before internally heating it. The heat temperatures kill microorganisms and other harmful elements. Microwaving is more energy-efficient than incineration and lowers the volume of biomedical waste.
Entrust Your Waste Disposal Needs to Professionals
Handling your healthcare facility’s waste can be a challenging task. Many healthcare facilities are partnering with waste disposal service providers to alleviate the burden. If your facility is in Denver, CO, consider Medical Systems.
Medical Systems is a medical waste company specializing in pharmaceutical waste management. They offer numerous services ranging from biomedical waste disposal to medical waste recycling.
Contact them today to sort out your waste disposal needs.