More and more communities across the country are encountering a commonly overlooked public health and safety issue: improper needle and sharps disposal. “Sharps” is a medical term for devices with sharps points or edges that can puncture or cut skin. Examples of sharps are needles, syringes, lancets, auto injectors, epinephrine and insulin pens, infusion sets, and connection needles/sets. The group of people who are put in the most danger by improper sharps disposal are environmental service workers – janitors, housekeepers, waste and recycling workers and sewage treatment workers. When a needle is tossed directly into the trash, it has the potential to stick whoever removes that trash. So the janitor may get stuck, the garbage-man may get stuck, and the waste-worker at the waste facility could

get stuck. It is also possible for an animal to get to the needle or for it to tear through a trash bag. Any of these scenarios may ultimately expose the needle to neighbors and children. Such injuries cost thousands of dollars in medical testing and cause great stress on victims. Sharps that are placed in the recycling can also jam or damage machinery at sorting facilities. If flushed down the toilet, sharps can cause sewer blockages as well as other problems with wastewater collection and treatment. Over 9 million Americans use sharps every day at home to manage a wide variety of conditions, including: allergies, arthritis, cancer, infertility, migraines, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, blood clotting disorders, psoriasis and more. On top of that statistic,…

NeedyMeds is pleased to announce our latest partnership with SafeNeedleDisposal.org! In honor of this new partnership we are spotlighting this week's blog post on the safe disposal of needles.   Needle disposal is a public health and safety issue that is commonly overlooked. The problem is that there are limited options for safe disposal of needles which leads to dangerous situations for the public – including injury and the spread of infectious disease. Additionally, information about safely disposing of syringes and needles is difficult to come by and often misunderstood. Each year “approximately 9 million syringe users will administer at least 3 billion injections outside health care facilities." Many of these users are unaware of how to properly dispose of their needles, and “simply throw their

used needles in the trash or flush them down the toilet, posing a risk of injury or potential infection from diseases such as Hepatitis B or C and HIV to anyone who encounters them.”   But Who is Really at Risk? The group of people who are put in the most danger by improper needle disposal are environmental service workers – janitors, housekeepers, waste and recycling workers and sewage treatment workers. When a needle is tossed directly into the trash, it has the potential to stick whoever removes that trash. So the janitor may get stuck, the garbage-man may get stuck, and the waste-worker at the waste facility could get stuck. It is also possible for an animal to get to the needle or…