Hazardous Medical Waste Management as a Public Health Issue

Other literature type Croatian OPEN
Marinković, Natalija ; Vitale, Ksenija ; Afrić, Ivo ; Janev Holcer, Nataša (2005)
  • Publisher: Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health
  • Journal: Arhiv za higijenu rada i toksikologiju, volume 56, issue 1 (issn: 0004-1254, eissn: 1848-6312)
  • Subject: gospodarenje otpadom; utjecaji na zdravlje; zbrinjavanje medicinskog otpada | impact on health; medical waste treatment

The amount of waste produced is connected with the degree of a country’s economic development; more developed countries produce more waste. This paper reviews the quantities, manipulation and treatment methods of medical waste in Croatia, as well as hazardous potentials of medical waste for human health. Medical waste must be collected and sorted in containers suitable for its characteristics, amount, means of transportation and treatment method in order to prevent contact with environment and to protect people who are working with waste. Hazardous medical waste in Croatia is largely produced by hospitals. Even though only one hospital has a licence to incinerate infectious medical waste, many other hospitals incinerate their hazardous waste in inappropriate facilities. Healthcare institutions also store great amounts of old medical waste, mostly pharmaceutical, anti-infectious, and cytostatic drugs and chemical waste. Data on waste treatment effects on human health are scarce, while environmental problems are covered better. Croatian medical waste legislation is not being implemented. It is very important to establish a medical waste management system that would implement the existing legislation in all waste management cycles from waste production to treatment and final disposal.
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