Medical and pharmaceutical businesses have obligations to ensure the safe disposal of medical waste or they can incur lofty fines. Professional waste disposal companies can help them stay on the right side of the law.
In 2006, a well-known pharmaceutical company was using potassium thiocyanate – a cyanide compound – in its production of various vaccines. Instead of disposing of the cyanide safely, operators simply tipped it down the drain, where the deadly concoction flowed into the Wissahickon Creek in Pennsylvania. It caused over 1000 fish to die, and the creek had to be temporarily closed to the public to protect them from the contamination.
The waste should have been sent to a pre-treatment plant and processed at a municipal plant before being treated along with regular sewage. Fines for the costly mistake can reach up to $32,500 per day for each violation.
Something in the Water
Another pharmaceutical company made the headlines in 2016 when a worker dumped 45 liters of waste containing poliovirus into the river Laan in Rixensart, Belgium. This river is popular with anglers and swimmers. Although the chance of paralysis from the poliovirus is small, this oversight, described as ‘human error’.
How to Dispose of Waste Safely
Infectious or R-DNA contaminated waste, blood products, cells, cultures, human, animal or plant pathogens must be autoclaved or bleach treated before it is sent anywhere else. It should be covered, labelled as a biohazard and bleach treated within 24 hours. Pre-printed boxes with a biohazard sign can be used to store such materials. It should be leak-proof. A local hazardous waste disposal professional in Utah can transport it away from the facility and dispose of it under safe and controlled conditions.
Not paying attention to health and safety procedures can put people, animals and the environment at risk and cost companies’ huge amounts in fines, clean-up charges and legal fees. Knowing the correct protocol and using a waste management company can save their reputation, time and money.Tags: Biohazard, Environment, Safe