A recent report from the United Nations has listed medical waste as a growing problem in developing countries.
According to the report, 20 to 25% of medical-related waste is hazardous. Improper disposal of hazardous medical waste poses a health and safety threat to consumers, health field workers, and employees in waste management. In particular, medical needles, or sharps, are a distinct threat for spreading disease. Nearly 40% of medical sharps are being reused globally without proper sterilization.
The report recommended raising awareness of risks of improper disposal and sterilization for both public safety and the environment. It also recommended improving disposal methods and developing an international framework for medical waste management and disposal.
In California, medical sharps have been banned from the household solid waste stream since 2008 under SB 1305 (Figueroa). But consumers are still in need of safe and accessible disposal options for medical waste.
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