A look at medical waste regulations in the state of Illinois.
Illinois medical waste regulations are governed by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and administered by The Bureau of Land. However, in Illinois medical waste is not referred to as medical waste, rather the state classifies medical waste as “Potentially Infectious Medical Waste” (PIMW).
The state’s regulations were enacted in 1993 after the late 1980s when, in a nationwide scare, needles and other medical waste had been washing up on beaches.
The short definition of PIMW is “… waste generated in connection with the diagnosis, treatment (i.e., provision of medical services), or immunization of human beings or animals; research pertaining to the provision of medical services; or the provision or testing of biologicals.”
This covers an exhaustive list of medical waste, including cultures and stocks, human pathological waste (tissue, organs, body parts, and bodily fluids), used sharps, and isolation waste. Isolation waste is discarded materials covered in blood and excretions from humans that are isolated to protect others from highly communicable diseases.
Illinois’ storage regulations state that medical waste generators must segregate PIMW into the following categories:
- Oversized PIMW, and
- All other
While “all other” is rather broad, it covers every aspect of medical waste, right down to pathogenic agents.
PIMW must be placed in a container that is rigid, leak-resistant, impervious to moisture, and tear-resistant.
Oversized PIMW is defined as waste generated in connection with a diagnosis, and must be covered or packaged in a manner that minimizes contact with transport workers and the public.
Of course, prior to disposal, PIMW must be treated with an acceptable treatment method, such as exposure to hot water, chemical disinfection, and detergent sanitizers.
Waste haulers must package medical waste only in enclosed compartments of vehicles that are secured against public access when unattended. All transporters must obtain a permit by the state to transport medical waste.
Illinois is also one of 26 states covered entirely by the federal OSHA program, which includes provisions such as the bloodborne pathogens standard, medical waste storage and cleaning, employee protection, and labeling.
Each state has a responsibility to protect the environment and enact environmental compliance resources for safe medical waste disposal. Do you have questions about your state’s medical waste requirements? Contact Red Bags today.
- 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