Incineration is typically used for the disposal of pathological and pharmaceutical waste. Pharmaceuticals found in surface, drinking and ground water can have a detrimental effect on aquatic life and possibly on human health and development, making incineration the preferred method of disposal opposed to drains or landfill.
Sources of medical waste include hospitals, clinics, dental surgeries, field hospitals, research laboratories, crime scenes, health care establishments and more, with regulated medical waste comprising part of this waste stream.
- Chemical waste that is contaminated by a chemical and disposed of as hazardous waste
- Biological waste that is contaminated with a toxin, animal tissue/blood, human tissue/blood or a biological agent
- Radioactive waste that is contaminated with a radioactive isotope only
- Multiple contamination waste which has any combination of chemical, biological and radioactive contamination
Within these groups there are certain waste elements that are suitable for incineration including, but not limited to
- Medical PVC including oxygen masks, tubing, IV solution bags, anaesthetic bags
- Chemotherapy agents, gowns, gloves, aprons, packaging, wipes, empty vials, ampules, empty syringes, needles and IV’s
- Lab tissues, swabs, infectious waste, blood products, body parts, contaminated Personal Protective Equipment, gauze, bandages, dressings
- Hazardous medication, part used medication, hazardous bulk medication, pills, injectables, antibiotics
There will be procedures in place at all facilities that generate medical waste; determining what should happen to the medical waste and whether a particular item is something that forms part of the Regulated Medical Waste stream. These procedures should be strictly adhered to so that there is minimal impact on public health.
The incineration process offers a safe and efficient method of destruction for many items of regulated waste. Mobile medical incinerators are built to an extremely high standard, able to deal with all manner of waste using different burning programmes, ensuring complete destruction of the waste and removing any risk of contamination, and are especially useful for field hospitals dealing with disease outbreaks, remote clinics and military applications where they may be needed as part of a clean-up operation.