Wednesday, November 13 2019
The consequences of violating medical waste rules can be hazardous for the flora and fauna. Therefore, the hospitals, clinics and other health care bodies should necessarily have an effective medical waste management strategy. Secure Waste, Inc. wants you to update you with the basics.
Definition Of Medical Waste
How Will We Define Medical Waste?
Medical waste is generated in health care places like hospitals, dental clinics, at local physician clinics, etc. It can be present in solid or liquid form. It is a kind of waste that contains infectious materials like blood gauges or cotton, human or animal tissues, used vaccines or injections, etc.
History of Medical Waste
In the year 1987, there was a tremendous increase in the amount of waste product on the shores of the beaches in New York and New Jersey. This huge pile of waste material affected the lives of the natives. They had to suffer a lot as the campaigns to clean up the mess were failing continuously.
When the complete scenario was studied, it was found that the waste collected on the sea shores of New York was produced by the Southwest Brooklyn incinerator and Marine Transfer Station. The companies wanted to escape the costs associated with proper waste disposal.
They disposed off the medical waste by dumping it in the ocean, packed in plastic bags. The ocean waves brought the waste to sea shores where it got collected.
This incident led to a revolution that got started on August 13, 1987, with the purpose of efficient waste disposal.
The next year in 1988, the revolution gained more pace when the Congress passed the Medical Waste Tracking Act. This law was created to focus on the handling and disposal of medical waste in the US. Under this federal program, the EPA was required to enforce certain restrictions on medical waste.
Medical Waste Types
Not all wastes are of the same kind and thus aren’t their disposing methods. Every sort of waste is unique and has some unique properties. Because of the difference in their nature, texture, and different disposing techniques, WHO (World Health Organization) has divided them into primary types.
Types Of Wastages:-
What are the categories of Medical Waste?
Medical Waste - Medical waste is obtained from operating rooms, morgues, laboratories or other medical facilities. This kind of wastes consists of bandages, bedding, syringes and much more.
Biomedical Waste - Biomedical waste is produced from organic and medical sources and activities, such as the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of diseases. Examples of Biomedical waste are- Bodily fluids, tissue samples, organs, cultures and body parts.
Clinical Waste - This waste includes human or animal tissue, blood or other body fluids, excretions, drugs, syringes, pharmaceutical products needles, and other sharp instruments.
Infectious Medical Waste - This type of waste includes personal sanitary products like diapers, tissues, medical dressings, hair, nails, extracted teeth and more.
Healthcare waste(HCW) - This waste obtained from health care bodies and includes sharps, tattoo sharps, blood, tissues, organs, chemicals, medicines, injections, etc.
Where does Medical Waste come from?
How much medical waste is produced?
Anyone would be shocked to identify the amount of waste produced on a yearly basis. With the ongoing development in the medical field, medical waste is also increasing at an alarming rate.
Who is responsible for the disposal of medical waste?
In the late 1980s, the waste control was done by the Environment Protection Agency and the Federal Government at the national level. At the state level, there were numerous state health agencies and environmental programs working with the purpose to keep a check on effective waste control methods.
The major authoritative bodies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and more are are working on the path to control medical waste.
Why it is essential to disposemedical waste?
Efficient disposal of medical waste is essential for human beings, animals, plants and the environment. The hazards of medical waste severely affect healthcare workers and waste disposal staff.
Another victim of medical waste is innocent animals. The animals intake these waste products and this results in their bad health and weak condition. The soil and manure get polluted by the waste products.
It is highly important to manage waste products in an efficient way.
What are the different ways to treat Medical Waste?
There are many ways to treat waste. Though, the purpose behind every waste disposal treatment is quite the same. The kinds of treatment performed during the waste treatment process are incineration, autoclaving, microwaving, biological or chemical.
Incineration - This process is still used for pathological waste treatments. Before the year 1997, approximately 91% of medical waste was disposed ofusing this method. In this process, the waste material was disposed off by Burning.
Autoclaving - This treatment is performed by sterilizing supplies under high pressure for 15-20 minutes. After this, the waste is disposed off in solid waste landfills.
Microwaving - The process of heating waste by exposing it to electromagnetic radiation in the microwave frequency range. This induces polar molecules in the food to rotate and produce thermal energy in a process known as dielectric heating. This lets the polar molecules to form dielectric molecules by rotating and producing thermal energy.
Chemical - Some of the waste materials are so rigid that they do not get disposed of properly even after burning. For such kind of harmful wastes,there are chemicals that can be used for proper disposal.
Biological - This sort of treatment use nature-based products for disposing of bio-medical waste. In this method, enzymes are employed to defuse the contagious organisms. Though the method of waste disposal is safe for the environment, yet its slow. Due to its slow nature, it is not practiced much.
Also Read: How To Deal With/Dispose Of Acupuncture Wastes
What are the stages of Medical Waste Disposal?
Medical waste disposal is not a one-shot process. It requires careful analysis, competent efforts, regular hard work, and keen inspection. Disposing of medical waste can’t be done single handedly. It requires a team with expert professionals having years of experience.
The complete waste disposal process is covered up in various phases. In every phase, a specific task is performed. The various phases are given below:-
Stage 1 – Collection of waste products
This is the first phase of the biomedical waste disposal process. This stage ensures that waste products must be collected in hard and tough containers. The needles, syringes, blades, or other sharp items can easily break or smash the soft containers. Thus, it is to be noted that a measurably tough and resilient material should be used for collecting the waste material.
Stage 2 – Segregation of waste products
Not every individual throw the waste in the dustbin according to the tag name. Therefore, the segregation of the waste product is necessary for effective hospital waste management. The segregation helps in easy handling of waste and promotes the process to the next level.
Stage 3 – Storing & Transporting
Immediate waste disposal is not possible; therefore proper arrangement has to be done to store it. The protected area which is far from the public should be used as a storage place. Particularly for biomedical waste the refrigerator, freezer, protective devices, should be used for storing waste. The storage should be done so efficiently that it does not be a source to transmit germs.
Transportation of waste products should be done in a highly protected and safe vehicle. As biomedical waste is highly contagious and harmful, therefore waste transportation should be done by the vehicle which is not open and does not emit any kind of gas which is harmful to the environment.
Stage 4 – Treatment
When infectious waste reaches the disposal site, its treatment takes place. On the basis of the type of waste, the proficient treatment is chosen. There are basically two types of waste disposal treatments- incineration and non-incineration.The required treatment could be in the form of incineration, autoclaving, microwaving, biological, microwaving, etc.
The treatments are done ensuring the essentials of OSHA’s guidelines. The trainer from the OSHA ensures that the waste is getting handled properly. In the whole process, many different sorts of equipment are used. This includes conveyors, carts, shredding, compactors and many more.
Given below is the list of equipments that are used in the medical waste management process:-
Incineration – Type 1 of Medical Waste Treatment
As said earlier, this treatment is based upon the high-temperature combustion process. The equipment used in this system is burn pile, rotary kiln, fluidized bed, controlled air. Incineration of waste materials converts the waste into ash, flue gas and heat.
Non-Incineration System– Type 2 of Medical Waste Treatment
Autoclaving System : It is commonly used for the disposal of human body fluid waste, sharps, and microbiology laboratory waste. This system requires a high temperature (thermal) that produces steam to decontaminate the biomedical waste. The steam plays a critical role in the medical waste autoclaving process; therefore, a sturdy medical waste container is required to hold waste.
Irradiation System : Irradiation is the other thermal method which uses a high-frequency microwave for disposal. The wave will generate heat to the waste materials and kill the bacteria, or eliminate the risk of contamination.
Chemical Decontamination : This method is used for the treatment of microbial waste, human blood, sharps and body fluid waste, but can’t be used for the disposal of anatomical waste.
Biological Process : It is a method that uses enzymes to destroy the organic matter of the waste. It is an eco-friendly and sustainable way to treat waste. Examples of biomedical waste that can be treated by biological process are bodily fluids, tissue samples, organs, etc.
Stage 5– Disposal
After the proper collection, segregation, storage, transportation, and treatment of waste products, they are ready to get disposed off. The most convenient place for waste disposal is the municipal landfills and sanitary sewer system.
What are the simple ways to reduce the production of Medical Waste in Health Centres?
If you still have some queries related to the medical waste disposal techniques or you need any kind of waste disposing advice then contact Secure Waste, Inc.