Within the hospital environment there is a huge array of different waste products. All of these waste products must be handled and treated differently based on the risk which they pose. Given the instruments and the type of waste which is discarded in a hospital setting, we have to ensure that laws are always abided by when it comes to the proper handling of it.
Today we are going to pay attention to one particularly dangerous aspect of hospital waste and pay attention toand how is it handled. This is just one example of many as to the dangers which hospital waste can present if mishandled, so let us take a deeper look into what exactly cytotoxic waste is.
This waste class covers the waste which is generated through the use of cytotoxic drugs. These particular medicines which are used for treatment attack the cell production and the cell division of the human body. Most commonly we see these particular drugs used in the treatment of cancer, and many chemotherapy treatments utilize cytotoxic drugs. When we talk about cytotoxic waste however we are not just discussing the drugs themselves. Cytotoxic waste is in fact an umbrella term which covers all instruments and apparatus which are used in the administration of cytotoxic medicines. This includes vials, needles, syringes, clothing and equipment, air filters and respirator masks to name just a few.
Risks Associated With Cytotoxic Drugs
If any of this waste is ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin, there is a very real and grave danger which it poses to the victim. Not only can this kind of chemical cause harm to the cells in the human body, especially to someone who is otherwise healthy, that person will also excrete bodily fluids which are rich in that cytotoxic waste for at least a week. This means that the same dangers could be easily spread to others during that time. Anyone who does come into contact with this waste will be considered as contaminated for 7 days and will have to be treated with the highest level of precaution during that time.
How Cytotoxic Waste is Handled
Only trained medical staff are allowed to handle these products and that is as much about their knowledge in administration as it is their knowledge in waste disposal. Once the waste is safely stored in a container, this will be handled by trained staff using safety equipment, who will then deposit it into a large waste bin on site. The waste is collected on a daily basis and it is then treated with chemicals in order to kill off all microorganisms. Once this process has been carried out, cytotoxic waste will then be incinerated until it is deemed safe enough to take to look landfill.
As you can see this is a vital aspect of hospital waste which has to be handled in a certain way.