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Friday
Nov162012

NH DHHS - Government, Industry and Health Care Leaders Announce Safe Sharps Disposal  Initiatives

NOVEMBER IS SAFE MEDICAL SHARPS AWARENESS MONTH

“At no time in New Hampshire’s history has the danger regarding used

medical needles been more evident,” said Steven Poggi, Waste Management,

Inc.’s, Director of Disposal Operations, New England Area. “For this

reason, Waste Management wholeheartedly supports the state of New

Hampshire’s efforts to help raise awareness about safe medical sharps

disposal.”


The Medical Sharps Subcommittee of the Health and Human Services Oversight

Committee spearheaded efforts to place sharps disposal boxes in the

Legislative Office Building and the State House in Concord. Each

building’s first-floor restrooms will be equipped with two secure, metal

sharps disposal boxes, provided courtesy of Waste Management, Inc.

Restrooms on other floors will have signage directing sharps users to

dispose of them at the designated locations. Waste Management signed an

agreement with state government leaders to provide free and regular sharps

collection, and proper disposal of them at their medical waste processing

facility in Rochester, NH.

To further promote the state’s public educational efforts, Governor John

Lynch has proclaimed November “Safe Sharps Awareness Month”. The

proclamation, read aloud by Governor Lynch at a Statehouse event Thursday

morning urged New Hampshire citizens to be mindful of the proper and safe

disposal of all sharps, including needles and lancets. “Medical sharps can

carry human and animal disease, and when disposed of improperly in general

household trash, puts our neighbors, children, waste workers, environment

and wildlife at risk Puncture-proof labeled containers and designated

medical waste receptacles offer a safe solution to medical sharps disposal.



The Subcommittee also coordinated the printing of 20,000 labels reading

“Medical Sharps Container – Not for Recycling.” The labels, designed to be

applied to sealed detergent bottles once filled with used household sharps,

will be available to sharps users free of charge at local transfer stations

throughout the state, and will also be distributed by the Granite State

Diabetes Educators, while supplies last. The purpose of the labels is to

help reduce the risk of needle sticks to residents and waste workers alike.

The labels were funded with donations from Becton Dickinson & Company, the

Granite State Diabetes Educators, the Local Government Center, the NH

Department of Environmental Services and the NH Medical Society.


State Representative J. David Knox, Chairman of the Medical Sharps

Subcommittee said, “With an estimated 20 million insulin syringes and pen

needles used annually by New Hampshire’s diabetic population alone, proper

disposal is critical in helping to keep waste workers and others safe.”


About the Medical Sharps Subcommittee: The Medical Sharps Subcommittee, of

the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Health and Human Services, is

tasked with studying and making recommendations for the safe and practical

collection and disposal of household generated medical sharps. Since 2008,

the Subcommittee has worked to design programs and educational materials to

target certain audiences on the proper disposal of sharps for the

protection of public health and the environment.

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