4th of July Fireworks Safety

This weekend is Independence Day. One of our traditions is to watch fireworks displays or shoot them off ourselves. In 2006, 9,200 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. The trend in fireworks-related injuries has been mostly up since 1996 with spikes in 2000-2001, primarily due to celebrations around the advent of a new millennium. The highest injury rates were for children ages 10 to 14. 75 percent of all injured were male.

Most fireworks injuries involve burns, but contusions, lacerations and other types of injuries are possible. Let’s look at some safety precautions for being around fireworks.

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Management of Pharmaceuticals at Healthcare Facilities

Medicines improve our quality of life, but there are some important issues regarding the proper disposal of unneeded or unwanted medicines. The disposal of pharmaceuticals when no longer needed poses a threat to our environment. Sharps Compliance has developed a program to manage these unwanted pharmaceuticals safely and in compliance with all federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

One of the ramifications of mismanagement of unused medications is the environmental effects resulting from poor pharmaceutical disposal practices. Through the years, pharmaceuticals have been largely discarded through either flushing or “sinking” them into the wastewater stream or discarding them into the solid waste stream. In the first instance, the wastewater is treated to remove physical, chemical, and biological contaminants, such as sediment, bacteria, and viruses. However, this treatment does not remove all organic molecules, which are inherent in pharmaceuticals. Thus, many of these molecules remain entrained in the treated waste water which is discharged into reservoirs, rivers, or lakes. Likewise, drugs disposed of as solid waste (into landfills) may leach these organic molecules into aquifers and into the fresh water supply.

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Hazardous Wastes at Retail Pharmacies

There has been increased scrutiny of the generation of hazardous waste in the retail industry – especially in the pharmacy area of stores. The importance of correctly managing the disposal of pharmaceuticals has become a critical issue. There is a category of waste that describes chemicals and constituents that are harmful to the environment – and these materials are classified as hazardous wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). A number of drugs and pharmaceutical formulations meet the definition of hazardous waste when discarded – and in some cases the empty containers that these pharmaceuticals came in may also need to be managed as hazardous waste.

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Hazardous Waste Defined

What exactly does the word hazardous mean? It is used quite often in the regulatory world as a descriptor of another significant word. The word “hazardous” is an adjective, meaning full of risk; perilous; risky.

If you live in the Northern US, I am sure that you know what hazardous driving conditions signify. If you are a golfer, I am positive that you recognize the word “hazards” when on the course. So, you can easily see what using the term hazard or hazardous connotes.

We need to make certain that the regulatory definitions using the key word hazardous are understood – and that we use the terms correctly. Let’s look at the use of the word hazardous in the regulations.

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