The Medical Waste Tracking Act: A Look Back and a Look Forward
As 2018 nears, we are quickly approaching a very significant anniversary in the history of waste disposal. Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the Medical Waste Tracking Act. The act was supported by President Ronald Reagan who was generally not known for his actions in aiding the environment. Moreover, as some people may be too young to remember, the Act arose from a major environmental disaster that affected the lives of many people and put a blemish on the medical profession. As this anniversary approaches we would like to take a moment to look back upon the disaster that prompted H.R. 3515 to be passed by the 100th Congressional session and was signed into law by Ronald Reagan on November 2, 1988. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island in Peril Back in August of 1987 the unthinkable was first discovered. The beaches and waters around New Jersey were discovered to be filled with medical and household waste which prompted closures of these beaches and investigations from Marine stations. The assistant commissioner of New Jersey – Donald A. Deieso - even stated that he believed that the pollution was intentional rather than accidental. Deieso reported that the waste stretched 30 to 40 miles from Manasquan on the north to Barnegat Light at the northern end of Long Beach. However, the disaster also impacted citizens on an emotional level as parents were afraid to take their children to the beach. The New York Times reported that back in 1988 as many as nine agencies in New York and New Jersey alike were still dumping sewage sludge offshore. Action at Last After many people played the blame game regarding this disaster, action was finally taken. The idea of the Medical Waste Tracking Act finally came into formation as a way to track medical waste from its creation, its transportation and finally its destruction. Today the law is vigorously enforced by the EPA and violations of the Act are punishable by fines and criminal penalties that vary depending on the severity of each offense. At present, the law is a reminder of the affects that poor waste management can have on the environment. At Secure Waste Disposal, Inc. we celebrate the 30th anniversary of this important piece of legislation. Today and every day, we specialize in the proper disposal of medical waste as mandated by the federal government. We also handle e-waste and computer disposal.