Treatment of Medical Waste

On October 3, 2011, in Medical Waste, by Jitendra

Treatment of medical wastes is usually laid down by specific government policies in every country. The Bio Medical Wastes Act of 1998 in India is the main act which lays down the ground rules for hospitals and other forms of medical units on how the various types of medical wastes are to be treated.

The primary methods for treatment of medical wastes are incineration, autoclaving, microwaves, mechanical or chemical disinfection and irradiation.

These are the main kinds of treatments for the different forms of medical waste disposal after which such treated wastes are then transferred to landfill areas. Initial years of waste management saw such treatment facilities being invested in by large hospitals and nursing homes by themselves. However, the costs of maintaining such treatment facilities has now prompted most health care units to collect and send such medical wastes for treatment and disposal to specialized units and carriers which are run by private companies.

Treatment of Medical Waste The effectiveness of each form of treatment method is again tested in different ways. One sure fire way is to insert a microbiological spore test. Such spores are most difficult biologicals to destroy and hence test packages which cannot be cultured after such treatment are considered suitable for waste treatment.

About ninety percent of medical wastes are incinerated. This is the controlled burning of medical wastes. Many hospitals and large medical units have their incinerators where most of the hospital wastes are treated such as animal wastes, pathological wastes, chemical wastes and so forth.

However, incinerators bring on the concern of air pollution. The ash that is produced as well as dioxins or furans are toxic and many old fashioned incinerators do not have pollution control equipment. Hence, other forms of technologies are now being brought in to replace incinerators.

Autoclaves are closed chambers where heat and pressure is applied to sterilize medical equipments. These treatments are for sterilizing medical equipments for re-use. These are also used to remove and destroy pathogens before medical wastes are moved to landfill areas.

Microwaves also use similar technologies of heat to sterilize medical equipments; chemical disinfectants are also used to treat different types of medical wastes before they are discharged into the sewage system or sent to the landfill.

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