Medical waste, in addition to generally accepted hazard classes, has its own assessment system. It is expressed in letters, also indicating the type and degree of environmental impact. The danger of withdrawal increases with each letter - from "A" to "D".
Hazard classes for medical waste
- There are five hazard classes for medical waste. In many ways, this grading system repeats the general classes for garbage, but has specific features.
- Class "A" : this is the waste of medical institutions that are not harmful to the environment and humans. This includes paper, food waste, etc. All this can be thrown into a regular trash can.
- Class “B” : this group includes items that have been in contact with sick people, as well as waste resulting from treatment and operations. They are taken to special landfills.
- Class "B": these are objects that have had contact with patients who are guaranteed to be infected with an infection. This also includes waste from laboratories, as it is highly likely to become infected. Such “garbage” is subject to accounting and special disposal.
- Class “G” : here are various industrial wastes. For example: thermometers, medicines, disinfectants, etc. They may not be in contact with patients at all, but they themselves are dangerous. Transported and disposed of by specially trained employees.
- Class "D": this group includes medical substances and materials that have an increased radiation background. Such waste, even during temporary storage, must be placed in metal sealed containers.
What is class “D”?
Class D radioactive waste is not uncommon. Their share in the total medical waste is quite small, but they are available in almost any hospital. First of all, these are consumables for diagnostic equipment, such as an x-ray film.
Small radiation is widely used in medical practice. Devices for conducting fluoroscopic examinations, fluorographic techniques, gamma-ray tomographs and some other diagnostic devices are a little "fonty". That is why fluorography is not recommended to be done more than once a year, and when creating an x-ray of the tooth, the patient’s chest is covered with a heavy rubberized casing.
The components of such equipment that have failed, as well as the materials used for work, are subject to special accounting. Each medical organization has a journal that records the amount and type of waste generated, as well as the time it was sent for recycling. Prior to disposal or storage, Class D wastes are stored in metal containers sealed with cement.
How is class “D” waste disposed of?
The “luminescent” objects and substances from medical institutions are transported in a specialized car. Before disposal, a batch of waste is analyzed to determine the composition and strength of the radiation.
Waste is considered hazardous in class “D” as long as this radiation is present. The garbage from the hospital is not a reactor from a nuclear power plant, so the decay period of the radioisotopes is quite short. It is possible, in most cases, to wait until the waste ceases to “waste” by placing them in temporary storage as part of a special landfill. When the radiation background returns to normal, the garbage is disposed of at a regular landfill for municipal solid waste.