A peek at the regulations and requirements for medical waste disposal in the state of Arizona.

Arizona medical waste disposal regulations are managed by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ). It is also one of 24 states operating an approved occupational safety and health (OSHA) program.

Medical waste requirements in this state share similar standards and regulations as others. According to ADEQ, medical waste is categorized as thus: medical waste and biohazardous medical waste. Medical waste is solid waste that is generated in diagnosing, treating or immunizing a human being or animal. This also includes discarded drugs. Biohazardous medical waste refers to cultures and stocks, human blood and blood products, human pathological wastes, medical sharps, and research animal wastes.

In the state of Arizona, the most notable requirements involve temperature and storage; perishable medical waste can be stored unrefrigerated if it does not create a disturbance. Biohazardous medical waste cannot be stored for more than 90 days, however this can be extended if the generator has met design and operational requirements per the state.

ADEQ has adopted specific rules for handling biohazardous medical waste and discarded drugs. Non-biohazardous medical waste is handled as solid waste.

A person must obtain a Biohazardous Medical Waste Facility Plan (BMWFP) approval from the ADEQ to construct any facility that will be used to store, transfer, treat, or dispose of biohazardous medical waste that is generated off-site.

Arizona also has specific guidelines for the tattoo industry; a tattoo needle and any waste exposed to human blood that is generated during the creation of a tattoo shall be disposed of in the same manner as biohazardous medical waste. This includes employing the use of a sharps container and red disposable bags. Tattoo parlors must arrange for transportation of the waste to a permitted biohazardous medical waste treatment facility through an ADEQ registered transporter if not using an alternative treatment plan.

In conjunction with federal laws, state departments of health issue the regulations that determine which wastes are considered ‘regulated’ or require special handling. Keep watching this space as we look at more regulations and requirements around the United States.

Arizona Medical Waste

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