Medical Waste & the Environment

Biohazard waste can have a harmful effect on the environment.

Hospitals, veterinary clinics and schools all offer valuable services. They also create a lot of medical waste in the process. The proper disposal of medical sharps, medications and other bio waste is well known throughout Florida and Georgia. Correctly eliminating products like bloody gloves, tubing, bandages, sharps and medications not only saves human lives, it helps the environment too.

Landfills

If medical waste or biowaste is treated like regular garbage, it can end up in a landfill and have terrible consequences. The same applies to improper incineration. When medical waste ends up in a standard landfill, wildlife can consume items such as liquid or pill medications and become sick.

Groundwater

Groundwater is also a valuable resource that can become contaminated by poorly disposed waste. Typical landfills are built on water resistant linings to prevent leaks into the ground, but items like syringes can tear through the barrier and leak into the groundwater below. Groundwater supplies often channel into city drinking supplies and natural bodies of water. If harmful chemicals and toxins leak into these sources, it can harm people and wildlife.

Radioactive Pollution

It might sound like a plot from a comic book, but radioactive materials used in the medical field pose real threats the environment when disposed of incorrectly. Diagnostic tools such as X-ray materials and radiotherapeutic devices often have been contaminated by radionuclides that can cause serious illnesses such as cancer or lymphoma.

Incineration

If incinerated, medical waste can cause airborne pollution. When it comes to disposal, every part of medical waste needs to be destroyed. Improperly disposed waste can release powerful toxins like lead, mercury or cadmium, particulate matter and acidic gasses like hydrogen chloride and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere. Thankfully, incineration has given way to safer methods of disposal such as autoclave technology.

When it comes to removing medical and biowaste from your facility, be sure it’s done properly. Universal Waste Management works hard to follow all the correct precautions to keep humans, animals and the environment safe and healthy.

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