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Thursday May 1st, 2014

Posted at 11:00am

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The City of Windsor is sending out a reminder to all residents that improperly disposing of medical sharps poses a public health risk along with the potential to injure garbage collectors and recycling facility workers.

“Sharps” is a term for medical devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut the skin. Such medical devices include hypodermic needles, syringes, lancets or fingerstick devices to collect blood for testing.

“We want to make sure residents understand that if they dispose of their needles and sharps improperly, they are putting workers who collect their recyclables and trash at risk. Much of this work is done by hand, creating a hazardous situation for people who are providing a service to all of us,” said City Environmental Services Manager Anne-Marie Albidone.

After being used, many sharps end up in the garbage or flushed down toilets, and the city stresses that this kind of improper disposal puts people, such as sanitation workers, sewage treatment workers, janitors, family members and children at risk for needle stick injuries or infection with viruses such as Hepatitis B and C and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

The city says that you should never put any sharps, syringes, or hypodermic needles in your garbage. To ensure safe and proper disposal, use an approved sharps container. If a sharps container is not available, store the needles in a hard plastic container with a lid, such as an empty peanut butter jar. Containers should then be brought to an approved location such as a local pharmacy.

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