A look at medical waste regulations in the state of Idaho.
Idaho medical waste management is governed by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
Like many of the other states we have already covered, Idaho defines medical waste as “…a waste that is known or reasonably expected to contain pathogens. Pathogens are microorganisms (including bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, parasites, prions, and fungi) and other agents that can cause disease in humans or animals.”
This includes, but is not limited to, bloodborne pathogens, pathological and anatomical waste, human blood and blood products, cultures and stocks of infectious agents, and sharps.
The common thread amongst medical waste regulations in every state is packaging, specifically how and when medical waste is disposed of, stored, and transported. Like other states, Idaho law states that medical waste must be placed in bags that are either labeled with the biohazard symbol, are colored red, or both. Used sharps must be placed in containers meeting FDA puncture-resistant and leak-proof certification.
Hospitals in Idaho are held to high standards, and the state has a lengthy document that outlines rules that cover everything from medical staff to surgical service, and goes right down to medical waste storage, treatment, and disposal.
Hospitals can rely on third-party private companies to provide transportation and treatment.
The state follows federal regulations for medical waste haulers; highly infectious materials should be treated at the point of generation and not transported. During transportation of regulated medical waste, DOT requires packaging to be marked with the proper shipping name “regulated medical waste” and appropriate identification number. Idaho also requires that medical waste haulers carry shipping papers, which provide the appropriate name and identification number plus the proper hazard and packing group, total quantity, number and type of packaging, emergency response phone number, and shipper’s certification.
Idaho states that incineration, steam sterilization in an autoclave, chemical disinfection, thermal inactivation, irradiation, and gas/vapor sterilization as approved methods of medical waste treatment.
State laws strictly regulate the packaging and disposal of biological waste generated not only by hospitals, but laboratories, veterinary practices, and long-term care facilities. Disposal procedures depend on whether the waste is classified as biohazardous or medical waste, and often times, each state varies in its definitions. Regulation of medical waste varies throughout the world, but in the United States, it is implemented at the state level in conjunction with many federal laws.
Curious about Idaho regulations, as well as other states? Contact Red Bags to discuss medical waste requirements in your community.
- What Happens to Medical Waste Eventually?
- Is Medical Waste Pollution a Problem in the U.S.?
- What Is NOT Considered Medical Waste?
- Handling Medical Waste Containers