A doctor carefully disposing of the syringe after capping the needle

The total amount of waste generated from healthcare facilities may be categorized as 85 percent general and non-hazardous, while the remaining 15 percent are hazardous, including radioactive, toxic, and infectious. Proper handling of medical waste can protect health workers, patients, and the general public.

A great majority of healthcare waste is derived from hospitals, nursing homes, laboratories, mortuary, and autopsy centers. Here’s a list of the different kinds of waste produced:

1.      Regulated Medical Waste

This may also be known as general or non-hazardous waste as it doesn’t pose any chemical, radioactive, biological, or physical hazard. It includes liquids, paper, or plastic, similar to that found in the office or household waste.

2.      Sharps Waste

Withdrawing blood to run a blood test

This type of waste includes needles, syringes, disposable blades, and scalpels. This waste is labeled hazardous as it affects humans in a non-infectious way. Still, it must be dealt with adequately as it increases the risk of accidental poisoning and the chances of drug administration.

3.      Chemotherapy Waste

Also referred to as cytotoxic waste, it contains highly hazardous substances such as teratogenic, carcinogenic, and mutagenic. These genotoxic properties are found in cytotoxic used in the treatment of cancer and their metabolites. Due to contamination with a radioactive substance, it may also be referred to as radioactive waste that has several potential health risks upon exposure, such as fetal loss, liver damage, abdominal pain, and vomiting. Radioactive waste may appear as solids, liquids, or gases that are contaminated with radionuclides. Therefore, all items used during the administration of the drug must be disposed of correctly.

4.      Pathology Waste

This waste form includes tissues, fluids, organs, body parts of humans, and contaminated animal carcasses. These may also be classified as infectious waste that poses the risk of spreading infections onto other humans as it contains pathogens.

A subgroup of pathological waste is anatomical waste that consists of recognizable human parts, which may or may not be infected. Still following the precautionary principles, anatomical waste is considered potentially infectious waste that must be disposed of following the protocol.

5.      Pharmaceutical Waste

This waste includes unused, expired, or contaminated vaccines, drugs, and pharmaceutical products. Equipment used in the administration of cytotoxic drugs also lies under this category. Water supplies exposed to long-term pharmaceuticals could potentially harm the ecosystem by adversely affecting humans, animals, and plants residing in the same locality.

With over 25 years of experience, Medical Systems is a full-service healthcare safety company fully licensed and regulated with all state and OSHA waste management regulations.We’re a medical waste removal company that picks up and treats medical and hazardous waste for disposal across Denver, Colorado.  We offer sharps waste, chemotherapy waste, regulated medical waste, pharmaceutical waste, and pathology waste removal services.

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