To keep you on your feet, here’s a short quiz to test your waste knowledge. Decide which statements are fact and which are fiction. Scroll down for the answers. (No peeking!)
- It’s OK to flush medicines down the toilet.
- Crush medicines before throwing them into the trash.
- Culture dishes and other glassware are considered medical waste
- Of the total amount of waste generated by healthcare activities, about 85 percent is general, non-hazardous waste.
- Laboratories and research centers are not considered major sources of healthcare waste.
- Health risks associated with waste include burns, poisoning and pollution.
- Only modern incinerators operating at 500 degrees Celsius and fitted with special gas-cleaning equipment are able to comply with the international emission standards.
- Once medical waste is decontaminated it usually ends up in landfills alongside regular municipal solid waste.
- A written safety and health program must include decontamination procedures.
- Old x-rays can be safely thrown in the trash.
1. Fiction. Medicines that are flushed down the toilet end up polluting our waters and contaminating our food and water supplies.
2. Fiction. Crushing pills before disposal is dangerous and puts the handler at risk for exposure to the drug through skin contact or by breathing in the dust.
5. Fiction. Cultures and stocks of infectious agents from laboratory work are considered infectious waste.
7. Fiction. Modern incinerators should operate at 850 to 1100 degrees Celsius.
9. Fact. A comprehensive safety and health program is essential in reducing work-related injuries and illnesses.
10. It’s best to call the x-ray department of the hospital and ask if they can dispose of them for you. X-rays are a landfill toxin.