X-Ray Waste Disposal – What You Should Know

By: BJ Neller   /   April 19, 2017

X-rays are the most common form of medical imaging in existence today. In fact, in one form or another they have been utilized by medical and dental professionals since they were discovered and developed in 1895 by German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen. Moreover, the popularity and usefulness of x-ray technology extends way beyond the medical field. Radiography is used by the art world to examine paintings, by scientist to explore the universe and by historians to study priceless artifacts. Because x-ray technology is such an ever-present part of 21st century life, the waste produced by this technology is in abundance in a number of companies and institutions. At Secure Waste Disposal, Inc. we handle this and other kinds of medical waste so that the public continues to reap only the benefits of these kinds of technologies. Here is a list of the various kinds of radiographic waste that we handle.

Types of x-ray waste


·         Developer: Developer is a solution that converts latent x-ray images into visible images. Unused developer contains hydroquinone, which is a toxic substance. Used hydroquinone can be disposed of in a sewer or sink; unused it must be carefully stored and disposed of by waste management professionals.


·         X-Ray Fixer: Fixer is used in x-ray processing by dentists, medical doctors and veterinarians and is toxic because it contains high levels of silver – 3,000 to 8,000 parts per million (ppm). (Anything over 5 ppm is considered to be dangerous.) Fixer cannot simply be flushed down the drain. It must be disposed of by professionals.


·         Film: Due to its high silver content, used x-ray film should be handled carefully.


·         Lead Foil, Boxes, and Aprons: Lead, as most people know, is a dangerous waste product and should not be disposed of by simply placing it in a trash can. It should be packed along with other bio waste disposal items such as sharps and needles to be secured by companies like ours.


Finally, in the 122 years that x-rays have been around they have gone from a period of novelty and mystery to being an omnipresent part of our 21st century life. They not only help to diagnose a variety of diseases, they are also used to treat various conditions as well. However, we should never forget that this technology and its by-products must be handled with caution. At Secure Waste Disposal, Inc. we are trained to properly dispose of the by-products of this oldest and most useful of medical technologies in a way that does not endanger public safety. We also have a vigorous recycling program that many of our companies use.