All Points Medical Waste Blog
Medical Waste from Funeral Homes
The Importance of Proper Management & Disposal
Funeral homes are tasked with caring for deceased people that come from many different places and circumstances. Some have passed away from natural causes and others have died as a result of a disease or illness. Bodies are brought to funeral homes from hospitals, coroner’s offices, homes and hospice facilities. The process of preparing a body for burial involves procedures that expose personnel to various chemicals and biomedical waste that if not handled properly can pose a health risk.
Different Kinds of Funeral Home Waste
There are several different kinds of medical waste generated within funeral homes and much of it is to be considered bio hazardous.
When a body is being embalmed, the process requires that the blood from the body is removed and then replaced with embalming fluid through the veins. Embalming prevents the body from deteriorating but involves the use of several toxic chemicals. The blood waste that is generated from this process must be disposed of properly and safely.
Funeral homes use sharps, scalpels, scissors, trocars, incision needles and other various sharps tools that are exposed to bodily fluids and chemicals that can be dangerous to those that come in contact with them. Because of this, state and federal mandates require that facilities have a clearly labeled sharps container where all of these items can be safely disposed of until picked up by a licensed medical waste disposal provider.
It’s not uncommon for the deceased to arrive at funeral homes with medications still in their system. This includes trace elements of chemotherapy and other treatments that can pose a health risk to workers if accidental exposure occurs.
Personal Protective Equipment, including masks and gloves, must be disposed of properly and safely after being worn by staff members within the funeral home. These items are exposed to bodily fluids, blood and other pathogens that can be dangerous.
Body Preparation Materials:
Tissue builders, cosmetics, adhesives, and cosmetics that are used to prepare a body can contain solvents or chlorinated compounds that are toxic including trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene. It’s critical that these chemicals and any gauze and swabs used for applying these materials be treated as hazardous waste.
Swabs & Dressings:
Any items, including swabs and dressings, that are used to prepare the body can be contaminated with bodily fluids and/or blood and therefore must be handled with care and disposed of according to guidelines to protect staff from infection and exposure.
Funeral homes, just like hospitals, physician’s offices, treatment centers and other medical facilities, generate medical waste that must be disposed of safely and according to state and federal regulations. To ensure that you remain compliant, follow the tips above and refer to your local medical waste guidelines.
All Points Medical Waste is a family owned and operated medical waste disposal company located in Stuart, Florida. We serve a wide array of organizations that generate medical waste throughout South Florida. Give us a call today or fill out this form to learn more.