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AIDS and medical waste: new technologies such as destruction and disinfection versus traditional incineration.


Int Conf AIDS. 1990 Jun 20-23;6(2):422 (abstract no. 3082). Unique

OBJECTIVE: Fear of AIDS by the general public was partially responsible for the advent of stringent new Federal (USA) and State regulations addressing disposal of medical waste. These statutes require medical waste to be rendered both non-infectious and unrecognizable. A new process of mechanical destruction and disinfection has been introduced, the objective of this study is to compare this to on-site incineration. METHODS: Incineration of medical waste was compared to mechanical destruction and chemical disinfection with respect to costs, emissions, approvals and licensing, disinfection of medical waste, and community acceptance. RESULTS: Both incineration and mechanical/chemical treatment were able to render medical waste non-infectious and unrecognizable. Incineration had the disadvantages of temperature variability, difficulties in licensing, permitting and community approval, air emission problems (nitrous oxides, hydrogen chlorides), ash removal, and higher costs. CONCLUSION: Mechanical/chemical treatment offers substantial environmental, aesthetic, and monetary advantages over on-site incineration. Ultimately it may help reduce the spiralling costs of medical waste disposal exacerbated by the AIDS epidemic.

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome/*PREVENTION & CONTROL Comparative Study Costs and Cost Analysis Human *Medical Waste Public Opinion Refuse Disposal/ECONOMICS ABSTRACT


Information in this article was accurate in December 30, 1990. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.