Posted by: Green Knight | November 14, 2011

Dr. Frog

This one’s a two-parter, but related.  Firstly, Chase bank has a new contest where you can help Save the Frogs.com win $250,000 if you go here and vote: http://savethefrogs.com/actions/chase/.  They get $25,000 if they’re in the top 100.  Do it, I did!

Second, I responded to a reporter’s request for info on medical waste, and decided to combine the topics, because I’m feeling lazy.  I decided to call the post Dr. Frog, and Googled for an image, and I’ll be damned, but there’s an interesting website about frogs and their use in medicine, called exactly that, Doctor Frog!  Here’s their link; I must explore it further myself: http://allaboutfrogs.org/weird/general/doctor.html.

Here’s what I sent the guy on the infectious waste issue:

I was a state environmental inspector in Missouri, and i blog about this kind of thing a lot.  In the US, at least, the EPA has the authority to regulate a waste as hazardous for its physical, chemical, or biological properties under the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act of 1976.  They have always shied away from the infectious or medical waste issue, preferring to leave it to the states, except when they did a 2-year pilot study of it in 1988 when red bags, syringes, etc. were washing up on beaches in New York and New Jersey and people were freaking out.  The results of the Medical Waste Tracking Act were that the states got a wakeup call over this, and EPA decided to continue to leave it to them.

Missouri regulates the stuff under its solid waste regulations, though St. Louis County’s health department is more stringent.  Illinois regulates it as a state hazardous waste.  The whole thing is pretty patchwork.  As to treatment and disposal, sharps (syringes and scalpels) are usually autoclaved, but still must be put in puncture-proof containers.  This doesn’t protect the trash haulers from stuff coming out of households, though.  I had a roommate with MS, and he stuck himself with interferon daily, but at least he put the needles in a 2-liter soda bottle; a lot of people aren’t that conscientious, even those who have to use syringes legally.

Other stuff, like human tissue, bloody gauze, IV tubes, etc., has to be in rigid leakproof containers.  Normally it goes in a bag, which doesn’t HAVE to be red, but must display the biohazard symbol, and the bag is usually in a sturdy cardboard box with a lid, also marked.  There is technology available to put that sort of waste into a tub grinder and shred and microwave or steam-treat it, but usually it goes to an incinerator, which brings in  air pollution regulations (Federal, state, and local).

Don’t forget that labs generate other wastes as well: chemical stuff, mercury amalgam leftovers from dental work, and scrap X-ray film and liquid solutions from the developing equipment, which are hazardous for silver (there are specialty companies that handle the X-ray stuff).

So that’s what I have to say about that for now.  Enjoy the frog site!

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Responses

  1. Bob, this would make a great topic for an interview, don’t you think? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Blog Talk Radio Show and if my guest doesn’t show up, let’s talk medical waste!

    PS. Cute pic…I’d go to that doctor, I’m sure the exam would be ribbeting! (Sorry, just couldn’t pass that up!!!)

    ;>
    Ditzy Diane

  2. LOL, Sorry, i was the Mikado of Incommunicado on Tuesday. I’m handy whenever you need me, though.


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