The priority of proper sharps disposal, handling, and storage cannot be emphasized enough. The potential dangers for people and the environment for improper disposal can lead to transmission of deadly diseases as well as leaching these diseases to land and water sources. Knowing the guidelines to protect individuals can reduce accident incidents and protect the environment.
Proper Sharps Disposal DOs:
Do: put needles or other sharps that have been used into an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container so that there is a reduction of risk of cuts, needle sticks, or punctures due to lose sharps.
Do: use a disposal container that has been FDA-cleared. In the case that an FDA-cleared container is not available for use, some local and state guidelines will recommend using the alternative of a heavy-duty plastic household container such as a laundry bottle with a tight cap.
Do: ensure that if you use a household container for sharps disposal that it is sturdy and emulates the strength and sealable features of an FDA-cleared container.
Do: make sure that all containers for sharps disposal are sealed and labeled properly.
Do: make sure that if you have portable sharps when you travel that you include a portable sharps disposal container.
Do: be aware of all of your local and state laws and rules for the proper methods required for disposal of your sharp’s container.
Do: contact your local public health department, waste management, or medical waste management company to learn about the programs in your area for sharps disposal.
Do: inquire with your health care provider or specialist to find out how and where you can get FDA-cleared sharps disposal containers, if they are aware of any programs for sharps disposal in your area, and if they offer a disposal program for your sharps.
Do: inquire with your prescription insurance company and/or medical insurance company if they cover any cost involved in sharps disposal containers.
Do: inquire the drug products manufacturers that you use for sharps, including needles, if they offer a no charge program that supplies sharps disposal containers for patients.
Do: make sure all your sharps as well as the sharps disposal containers are kept out of reach of children, pets, and anyone not knowledgeable of the sharps use.
Do: report all problems that may be involved with sharps disposal containers and sharps.
Proper Sharps Disposal DON’Ts
Do not: ever throw needles or any type of sharp into the regular trash.
Don’t: ever throw needles or any type of sharp into recycling bins; they are not recyclable, and they are dangerous.
Do not: put needles or any type of sharp into the toilet for flushing.
Do not: try to bend, remove, recap, or break any needles or sharps that have been used by another individual. This type of action could result in piercing the skin which could lead to transmission of dangerous diseases or infections.
Do not: try to remove a needle with anything other than an official needle clipper as it could lead to the needle flying off, falling off, or getting lost and potential injury.
Do not: fill a sharps disposal container past a ¾ mark.
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