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Salud Pública de México

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VOLKOW, Patricia; JACQUEMIN, Bénédicte; VILAR-COMPTE, Diana  and  CASTILLO, José Ramón. Contact with hospital syringes containing body fluids: implications for medical waste management regulation. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2003, vol.45, n.2, pp.120-122. ISSN 0036-3634.

OBJECTIVE: To determine amount of syringes used in the hospital and extent of contact with blood and body fluids of these syringes. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Syringe use was surveyed at a tertiary care center for one week; syringes were classified into the following four categories according to use: a) contained blood; b) contained other body fluids (urine, gastric secretion, cerebrospinal fluid, wound drainage); c) used exclusively for drug dilution and application in plastic intravenous (IV) tubes, and d) for intramuscular (IM), subcutaneous (SC), or intradermic (ID) injections. RESULTS: A total of 7 157 plastic disposable syringes was used; 1 227 (17%) contained blood during use, 346 (4.8%), other body fluids, 5 257 (73%) were used exclusively for drug dilution and application in plastic IV lines, and 327 (4.5%) were utilized for IM, SC, or ID injections. An estimated 369 140 syringes used annually, or eight syringes per patient per in-hospital day. All syringes were disposed of as regulated medical waste, in observance of the law. CONCLUSIONS: There is an urgent need to review recommendations for medical waste management by both international agencies and local governments, based on scientific data and a cost-benefit analysis, to prevent resource waste and further environmental damage.

Keywords : medical waste; syringes; waste management; Mexico.

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