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JuLY 2007

Sanitec disposes of medical waste dumped in San Jose landfill

Sanitec Industries, Inc. has been recently hired to dispose of medical waste and patients’ medical records improperly dumped in a San Jose area landfill.

In April, a worker at the Guadalupe landfill in the Almaden area of San Jose, California discovered medical waste and confidential patient records that had been improperly dumped in the municipal landfill. Information on the waste including letterhead, labels and serial numbers indicated that the waste came from no fewer than four area hospitals and medical centers.

Sanitec will use its patented Microwave Medical Waste Disinfection System which shreds waste into low- volume unrecognizable matter and microwaves it to render it safe for landfill disposal.

According to Sanitec, they received in excess of 122,000 pounds of waste that had been removed from the Guadalupe landfill, of which, over 100,000 pounds, more than 70 percent, is estimated to be medical waste and patient records. The remainder is municipal waste removed due to the possibility of cross-contamination.

The vast majority of medical waste in California is processed by autoclaves either onsite at hospitals or at remote facilities. Increasingly, environmental experts and scientists are calling into question the efficacy of autoclaves. According to these experts, most medical waste must remain in an autoclave for at least two hours to be safely disinfected. According to reports, many operators only treat waste for a fraction of this time; while saving money and increasing throughput, this short-cut fails to eliminate dangerous bacteria and viruses.

Shredder-microwave systems are the only non-incinerator process certified in California to both fully disinfect waste and perform HIPAA-compliant destruction of patient information.