To protect the health and safety of laboratory staff as well as neighboring civilians and the environment, proper waste management equipment, such as the Burkle funnel in Europe and the ECO Funnel in the U. It is to be dumped after treatment. Storage refers to keeping the waste until it is treated on-site or transported off-site for treatment or disposal.
There are many options and containers for storage.
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Regulatory agencies may limit the time for which waste can remain in storage. Handling is the act of moving biomedical waste between the point of generation, accumulation areas, storage locations and on-site treatment facilities. Workers who handle biomedical waste must observe standard precautions. The goals of biomedical waste treatment are to reduce or eliminate the waste's hazards, and usually to make the waste unrecognizable.
Treatment should render the waste safe for subsequent handling and disposal. There are several treatment methods that can accomplish these goals. Biomedical waste is often incinerated. An efficient incinerator will destroy pathogens and sharps. Source materials are not recognizable in the resulting ash.
Alternative thermal treatment can also include technologies such as gasification  and pyrolysis including energy recovery with similar waste volume reductions and pathogen destruction. An autoclave may also be used to treat biomedical waste.
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An autoclave uses steam and pressure to sterilize the waste or reduce its microbiological load to a level at which it may be safely disposed of. Many healthcare facilities routinely use an autoclave to sterilize medical supplies.
If the same autoclave is used to sterilize supplies and treat biomedical waste, administrative controls must be used to prevent the waste operations from contaminating the supplies. Effective administrative controls include operator training, strict procedures, and separate times and space for processing biomedical waste. Microwave disinfection can also be employed for treatment of Biomedical wastes. Microwave irradiation is a type of non-contact heating technologies for disinfection. Microwave chemistry is based on efficient heating of materials by microwave dielectric heating effects.
When exposed to microwave frequencies, the dipoles of the water molecules present in cells re-align with the applied electric field. As the field oscillates, the dipoles attempts to realign itself with the alternating electric field and in this process, energy is lost in the form of heat through molecular friction and dielectric loss. Microwave disinfection is a recently developed technology which provides advantage over old existing technologies of autoclaves as microwave based disinfection has less cycle time, power consumption and it requires minimal usage of water and consumables as compared to autoclaves.
Solutions of sodium hydroxide and other chemical disinfectants may also be used, depending on the waste's characteristics. Other treatment methods include heat, alkaline digesters and the use of microwaves. For autoclaves and microwave systems, a shredder may be used as a final treatment step to render the waste unrecognizable. Some autoclaves have built in shredders. In the UK, clinical waste and the way it is to be handled is closely regulated. A scandal erupted in October when it emerged that Healthcare Environment Services , which had contracts for managing clinical waste produced by the NHS in Scotland and England, was in breach of the environmental permits at four of its six sites by having more waste on site than their permit allows and storing waste inappropriately.
The company sued for compensation. The government's contingency plans include installing temporary storage units at hospitals, but the company say that this is more dangerous than allowing them to exceed their permitted allowances. The company still has contracts with 30 other trusts in England, and a waste disposal contract with NHS England for primary care and pharmacy.
In the United States, biomedical waste is usually regulated as medical waste. In the U. After the Act expired in , responsibility to regulate and pass laws concerning the disposal of medical waste returned to the individual states.
Hygiene and Environmental Health Module: 22. Solid Waste Management
The states vary in their regulations from none to very strict. In addition to on-site treatment or pickup by a biomedical waste disposal firm for off-site treatment, a mail-back disposal option allows generators of waste to return it to the manufacturer. The waste is shipped through the U. While available in all 50 U.
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The Bio-medical Waste Management and Handling Rules, and further amendments were passed for the regulation of bio-medical waste management. Each state's Pollution Control Board or Pollution control Committee will be responsible for implementing the new legislation. In India,though there are a number of different disposal methods,the situation is desultory and most are harmful rather than helpful. If body fluids are present, the material needs to be incinerated or put into an autoclave.
Although this is the proper method, most medical facilities fail to follow the regulations. It is often found that biomedical waste is dumped into the ocean, where it eventually washes up on shore, or in landfills due to improper sorting or negligence when in the medical facility.
Improper disposal can lead to many diseases in animals as well as humans. For example, animals, such as cows in Pondicherry , India, are consuming the infected waste and eventually, these infections can be transported to humans who consume their meat or milk. Large number of unregistered clinics and institutions also generate bio-medical waste which is not controlled.
Due to the competition to improve quality and so as to get accreditation from agencies like ISO, NABH , JCI , many private organizations have initiated proper bio-medical waste disposal but still the gap is huge. Many studies took place in Gujarat , India regarding the knowledge of workers in facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, or home health. After extensively looking at the different facilities, many were undeveloped in the area regarding biomedical waste. The rules and regulations in India work with The Bio-medical Waste Management and Handling Rules from , yet a large number of health care facilities were found to be sorting the waste incorrectly.
The latest guidelines for segregation of bio-medical waste recommend the following color coding - . The syringe tide environmental disaster of — raised awareness about medical waste as medical syringes washed ashore in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. The crises spurred scientists and lawmakers to create mechanisms, policies, and laws so that health care providers would process their bio-waste in an environmentally friendly way.
Improper management of health care waste can have both direct and indirect health consequences for health personnel, community members and on the environment.
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Indirect consequences in the form of toxic emissions from inadequate burning of medical waste, or the production of millions of used syringes in a period of three to four weeks from an insufficiently well planned mass immunization campaign. Biomedical waste is not limited to medical instruments; it includes medicine, waste stored in red biohazard bags, and materials used for patient care, such as cotton and bandaids.
The most serious effect that biomedical waste has on our seas is the discharge of poisons into the waters that could then be consumed by ocean life creatures. Toxins would interject into the food chain and eventually reach humans who consume sea creatures. Human exposure to such toxins can stunt human growth development and cause birth defects. The three type of medical waste incinerators are controlled air, excess air, and rotary kiln. Controlled air is also known as starved-air incineration, two-stage incineration, or modular combustion.
This is the process of which waste is fed to a combustion chamber and combustion air begins to dry and facilitates volatilization of the waste. As a result, carbon dioxide and other excess gases are released into the atmosphere.
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The second type of incineration is the excess air process. This is similar to the controlled air process, such as the waste being dried, ignited, and combusted by heat provided by the primary chamber burner. However, the main difference is that moisture and volatile components in the waste are vaporized. In a rotary kiln, the process is similar to the two mention above, however, it is more versatile in terms of being able to mix wet and dry waste components and viewed by many waste engineers as being the most environmentally friendly.
Post incineration process, toxic ash residue is produced and is often disposed at landfills. These landfills are not protected by any barrier and the residue has the potential of reaching underground water that is often exposed to human use. The combustion of plastic material releases toxic gases that escapes and joins breathable air. Human and animal exposure to such gases can cause long term breathing and health issues.
The rotation of toxic air does not only impact human well-being, but also of animals and plants.
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