Medical Waste Disposal

California’s Role in Shaping the Medical Waste Disposal Industry

When it comes to medical waste disposal rules and practices, no one is doing it better than the state of California. Since 1972, state lawmakers have been making a concerted effort to better regulate medical waste, providing federal regulators with an exemplary lead to follow.

The California Hazardous Waste Control Law – or HWCL – was enacted in 1972, four years before the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act – RCRA – was put into place by the federal government. Since that time, California has always been a few steps ahead of the feds, ensuring residents that they will not be affected by medical waste disposal hazards. Medical waste disposal for hospitals, clinics and any other type of healthcare facility is closely monitored at the state level, starting from the point at which it is generated all the way to the methods used for sterilization.

Not only was California first in recognizing the need for medical waste disposal regulation, they have enacted stricter regulations consistently over the last 5 decades:

  • As per the HWCL, the Department of Toxic Substances Control must grant permits to companies treating hazardous waste. The same was not initially set forth in the regulations given by the RCRA.
  • A list was made of hazardous wastes and a toxicity characteristic by the HWCL ten years before the RCRA put forth a similar list.
  • There is a sewer exclusion included for wastes as per the Clean Water Act, yet this exclusion is not recognized in the state of California.
  • California laws clearly define toxicity characteristics whereas the federal government makes no concessions, not even for copper, zinc or nickel. They also look at carcinogens, another point missed in federal regulations.
  • Under California law, more hazardous wastes are regulated that what is recognized by the federal government.

The stringent guidelines set forth by the California government may be good news for residents, yet it poses problems for healthcare facilities. Knowing the expectations of OSHA and the EPA is not enough. Health care providers must be up to speed on the myriad of rules given at the state level, on top of what can be expected form their federal counterparts.

In order to avoid systematic inspections and fines imposed by state regulators, the administrator of a dental office or health clinic in California needs to be fully aware of all of the rules being imposed. This makes biological waste disposal for dental offices a burdensome task that can consume your resources as you work to be compliant. Professional medical waste disposal companies are fully equipped to relieve you of the burden, making your facility safe for patients and your employees.

Don’t risk being subject to expensive fines due to accidental non-compliance with California laws. Use a locally based company that has been registered with the state in order to ensure that your medical waste disposal needs are being met, with regard for the laws enforced at every level.

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