Nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes. Diabetics use syringes, needles, and lancets to administer home health care. In addition, many patients with cancer, arthritis, and other chronic diseases generate sharps as a medical waste with their self-administered home health care. These sharps, if not disposed of in puncture resistant containers, can injure waste haulers, increase the risk of infection, and pollute our environment.
- Sharps refers to needles, syringes, and lancets used for checking blood glucose levels.
- People at the greatest risk of suffering a needle stick injury include sanitation and sewage treatment plant workers, janitors, housekeepers, and children.
- One out of every 20 people in the United States has diabetes and uses an average of two sharps daily.
- Needle stick victims often suffer from anxiety, depression, disease monitoring, and long-term infectious diseases.
Home users who produce medical waste can help prevent injury, infection, and pollution by following one of these steps for safe needle disposal:
- Contact your local health department, parish/county waste authority, or household hazardous waste collection program to see if they will collect sharps for safe and proper disposal.
- Identify a pharmacy, physician, dentist, veterinarian, health clinic, or hospital that will accept your sharps and properly dispose of them with their sharps.
- Contact a medical waste collection company and see if they will accept your sharps waste. A list of collection companies can be found at safeneedledisposal.org.
- Contract with a U.S. Postal Service approved mail-back service. These companies will provide you with containers and directions on packaging your sharps waste so they can be returned to the company through the U.S. mail. A list of these companies can be found at safeneedledisposal.org.
- Purchase a product that allows you to destroy needles at home by burning, melting or cutting off the needle – making it safe to throw in the garbage. You can find a list of companies that make home needle destruction devices at www.safeneedledisposal.org.
Additionally, please keep these guidelines in mind when dealing with sharps:
- Don’t place sharps in a recyclable plastic or glass container and send them to a recycling center.
- Don’t let small children handle or play with sharps containers.
- Don’t flush needles, syringes, and lancets down the toilet.
- Don’t discard needles or lancets in hotel, airline, or cruise trash when traveling. Ask if a sharps container is available or package the used sharps in a puncture resistant container and bring them home with you for proper disposal.
Sharps are used to treat:
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Multiple Sclerosis
Safe Needle Disposal
www.safeneedledisposal.org | 1.800.643.1643