California Regulations for Proper Disposal of Medical Waste
California. Famous for its beautiful beaches and towering palm trees lining the Pacific Coast, California is delightful.
Now imagine how tragic it would be to find these beaches scattered with dangerous and potentially contaminated needles and disgusting and infectious medical waste. Properly managing and disposing of biohazardous waste is the only way to prevent this from happening.
To encourage this proper management, the state of California has specific regulations regarding biohazard waste disposal and wastes generated in a clinical setting.
California’s Definition of Medical Waste
According to The Medical Waste Management Act, the definition of medical waste is waste generated in the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals. Medical research, production or testing of biologicals, accumulation of home-generated sharps waste, and the removal of trauma scene waste are specifically included in the definition of medical waste.
California Storage Requirements
The full procedures for medical waste disposal are found here. Some of the important pieces and storage requirements for medical waste are included below.
- Medical waste must be contained separately from other waste
- Sharps waste must be contained in a sharps container
- Indicate that red biohazard bags are to be placed for storage, handling, and transport
Medical Waste Regulations in California
The Medical Waste Management Act provides a definition of medical waste (California Health and Safety Code, 117690). The waste must satisfy three criteria in order to be classified as medical waste. These three criteria are:
- The material must be a waste product.
- The waste must be either biohazardous or sharps waste. Various forms of waste are defined as biohazardous because of the actual or presumed presence of pathogenic microorganisms. Such wastes as laboratory waste and fluid blood fall into this category and are therefore biohazardous waste. Objects which have been used in invasive procedures, such as hypodermic needles and broken glass items contaminated with blood or other biohazardous waste are considered to be sharps waste.
- The waste must be produced as a result of a specified action in the delivery of health care.
Dealing with Medical Waste at Home
Medical waste disposal regulations are different when referring to biohazardous waste generated in a home. While many people have needles and other potentially infectious waste at home for a variety of reasons, this waste is not considered medical waste. Waste like this generated in a household is not required to be disposed of in the same fashion as the waste generated in a clinical setting. If you produce this potentially infectious waste in a home setting you should:
- Sharps should be in a sealed, puncture-proof container.
- Consider purchasing a sharps container using MedPro Diposal’s mail back services.
- You may also use a laundry detergent bottle or soda bottle.
- When full, seal the container and tape it shut.
- Mark the container “DO NOT RECYCLE” and place it in your regular trash.