Consumer Advocacy

Who Regulates Medical Waste in Arizona?

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Regulation of medical waste varies throughout the world, but in the United States, it is implemented at the state level rather than the federal level. The adoption of the Medical Waste Tracking Act in 1987 mandated state governments track and dispose of medical waste in accordance with federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules. Regulations for medical waste management and disposal differ from state to state.

In the United States, potentially infectious medical waste is termed as regulated medical waste.

The Present Role of the EPA in Medical Waste Regulation

Because state governments have the responsibility of handling and managing medical waste, the EPA’s role in the process has changed. The EPA still has an active role in the regulation of air emissions from incinerators, a preferred end-stage disposal method for medical waste. The EPA is mainly concerned with harmful substances emitted by incinerators, and therefore issues guidelines for operators to reduce pollution caused by the incineration of medical waste.

What About the Regulations for Medical Waste in Arizona?

The regulating agency for medical waste management and disposal in the State of Arizona is the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). The guidelines pertinent to regulated medical waste are stated in Article 14 of the Arizona Administrative Code. This regulation applies to waste generators, transporters and medical waste treatment facilities.

What About the Role of OSHA?

OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, works to maintain the safety and well-being of workers in every workplace. OSHA created a set of regulations for the handling and processing of blood-borne pathogens, all aimed at preventing occupational exposure to blood and other infectious materials. A significant portion of blood-borne pathogens regulation is devoted to reduction, proper handling and segregation of waste from medical procedures, which facilitates safe containment and disposal. OSHA also mandates employers adhere to proper disposal procedures of biohazardous wastes like medical waste.

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