Hazards of Medical Waste

Hazards of Medical Waste

With the acceleration of the urbanization process, the increase of the population and the daily health needs of the people, a large number of medical wastes are also produced, and the disposal of medical wastes has attracted extensive attention from all over the world. Medical waste is a special kind of waste that is extremely harmful. These wastes mainly come from the domestic waste of patients, various solid wastes generated in the process of medical diagnosis and treatment, and contain a large number of pathogenic microorganisms, parasites and other harmful substances” If the medical waste is not managed and handled properly, the infectious substances, toxic and harmful substances contained in it will inevitably cause serious environmental pollution, and bring huge threats to people’s health, life safety and living environment.

The hazards caused by medical waste are often summarized into the following aspects: hazards caused by infectious microorganisms; hazards caused by teratogenic or mutagenic substances; hazards caused by toxic or dangerous chemicals or drugs; The most prominent is the health hazard caused by infectious medical waste. Pathogens in infectious waste can enter the human body through the following ways: ① through incisions, broken wounds or puncture wounds on the skin; ② through mucous membranes; ③ through the respiratory system: 4 through the digestive system. In addition, body fluids are also a route of transmission of pathogens (Table 1). The impact of medical waste on health mainly includes the following aspects:

1. Influence of infectious wastes and sharps, such as severe viral infections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) hepatitis B and C viruses, medical service practitioners, especially doctors and nurses, are exposed to such viruses. Among the risks, other hospital staff and waste treatment operators outside the hospital are also at greater risk, and cleaners at the waste treatment site are also exposed to the risk. Patients and the public face this risk of infection, but some infections caused by other means of transmission also pose a risk to the general public or patients. For example, in some Latin American countries, untreated waste from the treatment of cholera patients in field hospitals has caused large-scale cholera epidemics.

2. The impact of infectious waste on the water environment and the atmospheric environment If improper anti-seepage measures are taken for waste storage or landfill, it may cause solid waste to enter the surrounding surface water body or infiltrate the soil along with natural precipitation and surface water: the waste flows with the wind Falling into the water body pollutes the water surface, and wastes are directly discharged into rivers, lakes or oceans, causing water pollution. Garbage incineration, especially the incineration of chlorine-containing wastes, if not handled properly, may produce a large amount of substances that are classified as Class I carcinogens by the International Center for Research on Cancer. Because of its stable chemical properties, its half-life is generally 5 to 10 years, and the accumulation in the environment causes serious pollution to the atmosphere, soil, rivers and lakes.

3. The impact of infectious waste on soil environment The storage or landfill of medical waste not only occupies land area but also pollutes the soil environment. It is estimated that every 10,000 tons of solid waste piled up occupies about 6.66 million square meters. The discharge and accumulation of large amounts of waste also destroys landforms, vegetation and natural landscapes. Wastes are piled up or landfills without proper anti-leakage measures. The harmful components in the wastes are easily eroded and infiltrated into the soil, which can kill the microorganisms in the soil, make the soil lose its ability to decompose and destroy the plant growth environment.

After medical supplies are used up, they should be thrown into the medical waste trash can for the first time, and then be processed in a centralized manner. Medical waste cannot be littered or disposed of at will, and we all need to pay special attention to this. Medical waste bins can effectively isolate biological viruses. play an important role in biosecurity.

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