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 Frequently Asked Questions On Medical Waste Disposal 

Here are some of our more frequently asked questions. If you have a question, please feel free to contact us, we may use it here for others to enjoy also. Thank you...

 What Is Medical Waste?
Generally medical waste is defined as any waste that can cause an infectious disease or that can be suspected of harboring human pathogenic organisms. It is also known as red bag waste, infectious waste, biomedical waste, and biohazardous waste. Regulated medical waste includes single-use disposable items such as needles, syringes, lancets, gloves, laboratory and surgical supplies, which have been in contact or may have been in contact with blood, blood products, bodily fluids, cultures or stocks of infectious agents. EPA Definition: Medical waste is generally defined under state regulations. Medical waste is often described as any solid waste that is generated in the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals, in research pertaining thereto, or in the production or testing of biologicals, including but not limited to: blood-soaked bandages culture dishes and other glassware discarded surgical gloves - after surgery discarded surgical instruments - scalpels needles - used to give shots or draw blood cultures, stocks, swabs used to innoculate cultures removed body organs - tonsils, appendices, limbs, etc. lancets - the little blades the doctor pricks your finger with to get a drop of blood

 Do I Need A Medical Waste Company?
In short, anyone that generates regulated medical waste on a continuing basis i.e. Doctors, dentists, veterinarians, hospitals, laboratories, etc. Should use a licensed medical waste disposal company, the cost of disposing of regulated medical waste is often an expensive service. The cost for improperly disposing of regulated medical waste and other hazardous wastes are far greater i.e. Exposure to civil and criminal liability, lack of responsibility for the protection of life and the environment, bad publicity etc.

 How does MDE define hazardous waste?
To be regulated as a hazardous waste, a substance must either have the potential to:cause or contribute to an increase in mortality or serious illness, or, threaten human health or the environment if mismanaged. As a practical matter, a substance is regulated as a hazardous waste if it is specifically listed as such in State regulations, is mixed with or derived from one of those "listed" wastes, or exhibits certain characteristics defined in the regulations.The characteristics of hazardous waste include ignitability, corrosivity (strong acids or caustics), reactivity (explosives or items which can release toxic gases when mixed with water), and toxicity (substances which will release certain levels of toxics when subjected to a test simulating conditions in a landfill). What can be done with hazardous waste? Some hazardous waste is recycled into usable products. Hazardous waste is also treated through chemical, biological or physical treatment to render it non-hazardous. It may also be incinerated or disposed of in a specially designed landfill.

 What requirements apply to persons who generate hazardous waste?
Hazardous waste generators must arrange for shipment of their hazardous waste to a facility permitted to accept it or, with the appropriate permits, treat it themselves. A person who ships hazardous waste off-site must use a hauler certified by MDE and the waste must be accompanied by a document that tracks it from generation to disposal (the hazardous waste manifest). A person must comply with regulations on the storage of the waste, and must follow specified procedures to prevent the occurrence of circumstances which would threaten human health or the environment. These requirements are spelled out in Title 26, Subtitle 13 of the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR 26.13)

  How does MDE check on compliance?
MDE inspectors make routine, unannounced inspections of hazardous waste generators and permitted hazardous waste facilities. Generator facilities found in violation of hazardous waste rules may be penalized under administrative or civil actions. Violations of hazardous waste laws in Maryland may be considered a felony and subject the violator to criminal sanctions, including imprisonment.

 What is mercury?
Mercury, chemical symbol Hg, is a silver-colored metallic element that is toxic to living organisms. At room temperature, elemental mercury is a liquid, conducts electricity, and mixes easily with other metals. Mercury also expands and contracts evenly with temperature changes. Elemental mercury easily breaks up into many small droplets and evaporates to form mercury vapor, a colorless and odorless gas. One of the organic forms of mercury, methyl mercury, is volatile, very water soluble, and the most toxic form of mercury. Mercury can cycle in the environment due to its ability to change forms.

 Where is mercury found?
Although mercury is a naturally occurring element, more than two-thirds of the mercury in the atmosphere comes from human-made products and energy production activities. Mercury is released into the atmosphere through a variety of means such as evaporation from water and land, but primarily through coal-fired utility and incinerator emissions. Mercury gets into the soil through the natural breakdown of mercury-containing rocks, disposal of mercury in landfills, and atmospheric deposition. It enters the watershed through runoff, atmospheric deposition, and when mercury products are poured down the drain. Once in the water cycle, mercury can convert to methyl mercury. Methyl mercury can accumulate in the tissues of fish and other organisms inhabiting mercury contaminated bodies of water, and may be carried up the food chain.

 What are the impacts of mercury exposure on humans?
Humans are exposed to mercury through their diet (primarily through fish), absorption, or through the inhalation of toxic elemental mercury fumes. Signs and symptoms of brief exposure may include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and bronchitis. Long-term exposure can result in shakiness, tremors, loss of muscle control, memory loss, kidney disease, and loss of appetite and weight. The health effects due to mercury exposure depend on several factors, including the amount of consumed, absorbed, or inhaled mercury and the length and frequency of exposures. Also a person's general health status, age, gender, family history, diet and lifestyle, and exposure to other chemicals may have an effect on whether the mercury causes an ill effect. Young children and fetuses are most sensitive to mercury poisoning during early development to age six.

Best medical sharps waste transport & disposal - Secure Waste is a full service Biohazard waste transport and disposal company. #1 for compliant Health Care waste management & solutions  
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