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Overview of Wastes from Health Care Activities UNEP IETC Osaka, Japan 19 July 2012 Susan Wilburn, Technical Officer Public Health and Environment. Key Points. Of the total amount of waste generated by health-care activities, about 80% is general waste.
“Health-care waste includes all the waste generated by health-care establishments, research facilities, and laboratories. In addition, it includes the waste originating from “minor” or “scattered” sources--such as that produced in the course of health care undertaken in the home (dialysis, insulin injections, etc.).”
Improper management of health care waste can have
both direct and indirect health consequences for health
personnel, community members and the environment.
UK 96 to 2004, 2140 reported occupational exposures to bloodborne viruses. 21% of the injuries occurring during the disposal process (Gabriel 2009)
Study in Mexico city showed that out of 69 interviewed waste handlers 34% (13) reported 22 needle stick injuries between them during the first 12 months and 96% had seen needles and syringes in waste (Thompson et al, 2010).
In Pakistan on average scavenger boys who were going through medical waste, for collection and resale, experienced three to five needle stick injuries a day (Altaf and Mujeed 2002)
Dozen of children in Sadr City, largest suburb of Baghdad, have been admitted to hospitals with symptoms of infectious diseases due to contact with waste (Integrated Regional Information Networks, 2007).
Low income households are more likely to live close to waste sites resulting in more direct contact with health care waste (Appleton and Ali, 2000)
In India more than 30% of the injections administered each year were carried out using re-used or inadequately sterilized medical equipment and that nationally, 10% of health care facilities sold used syringes to waste pickers (IndiaCLEN 2004).
Research suggests that population living within 3 km of old incinerators saw an increase of 3.5% in the risk of contracting cancer (Porta et al, 2009)
In any area that produces hazardous waste hospital wards, treatment rooms, operating theatres, laboratories, etc.
bins plus separate
sharps container will be needed.
Highly hazardous healthcare wastes, which should be given special attention, includes
General healthcare waste, similar or identical to domestic waste, including materials such as packaging or unwanted paper. 75–90% of waste generated by healthcare facilities falls into this category.
Thailand GREEN & CLEAN Hospitals
Sambhavna Trust Clinic
*Estimated to have a global warming potential of 500-3700 X CO2
"Risking their health while caring for others: Reproductive health hazards of germ-killers"
NIOSH, Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham & Women's Hospital surveyed of 7,000 women nurses and found numerous potential occupational chemical exposures that doubled or tripled miscarriage risk.
New Delhi, India: the city’s public health system is substituting mercury in its hospitals. To date 12 hospitals are in the process of substitution. (Poster from campaign on right)
Sao Paulo, Brazil: more than 100 private hospitals and 34 public hospitals have gone mercury-free
Mexico City, Mexico: The health secretariat announced in September 2009 that its system of 28 hospitals and more than 200 health clinics would join the WHO-HCWH Initiative and phase –out mercury-based medical devices.
Agenda item 11.18 - Improvement of health through safe and environmentally sound waste management
72 countries receiving support for health care waste
Second edition - September 2012
“The improper management and disposal of medical waste has an adverse impact on the enjoyment of human rights in many countries.”
Refers to the Stockholm Convention on POPs
Sept 2011 A/HRC/18/31
Affordable technologies for waste treatment are not developed in and for low income countries and are mostly geared towards industrialized countries
Some 25% of health waste is hazardous – developing countries are most at risk due to poor waste management practices.
– Energy benefits of energy-waste systems are clear – but may involve a health penalty (e.g. emissions of dioxins, pollutants)
- Environmental benefits of mechanical/thermal treatment (e.g. microwaving/autoclaving) are also clear – energy aspects needs more exploration.
"Water and Sanitation is one of the primary drivers of public health. I often refer to it as “Health 101”, which means that once we can secure access to clean water and to adequate sanitation facilities for all people, irrespective of the difference in their living conditions, a huge battle against all kinds of diseases will be won." Dr LEE Jong-wook, Director-General, World Health Organization.
WHO Health in the Green Economy
Health care waste www.gefmedwaste.org
Mercury-free health care www.mercuryfreehealthcare.org