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Biomedical Waste Program

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There are approximately 38,000 facilities in Florida that generate biomedical waste.  These include hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, laboratories, funeral homes, dentists, veterinarians, physicians, pharmacies that provide flu shots, body piercing salons, tattoo shops, transporters, and storage and treatment facilities. The objective of the biomedical waste program is to protect health care workers, environmental-service staff, waste haulers, and the general public from risks associated with potentially infectious biomedical waste.

Both the Department of Health and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection have responsibilities under this program.  The Department of Environmental Protection has primary responsibility for biomedical waste incineration and final disposal.  The Department of Health has primary authority and responsibility for facilities that generate, transport, store, or treat biomedical waste through processes other than incineration

When biomedical waste is improperly managed, it places health care workers, sanitation workers, and the general public at risk for contracting dangerous diseases.  Section 381.0098, Florida Statute and Chapter 64E-16, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.)(60kb PDF) , provides guidance to facilities that generate biomedical waste to aid them in ensuring proper management of that waste.  A model biomedical waste operating plan (38kb PDF)  is available to assist facilities in documenting their procedures for management of biomedical waste.  Many facilities have their biomedical waste removed by a registered biomedical waste transporter.

Biomedical waste generated by individuals in their own homes from use of syringes or diagnostic lancets also should be properly managed.  Many homeowners can find assistance through a local county needle collection program.  Where biomedical waste is produced in a home through injury or other major traumatic conditions, the guidelines for home cleanup of biomedical waste (40KB PDF)  provide guidance for proper cleanup or trauma scene clean up providers can be contacted to manage site decontamination.