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Sharps Compliance Corp. (NASDAQ: SMED) offers hope for de-fusing a hidden environmental time bomb ticking away in America: the safe disposal of unused medication, used syringes, needles and other medical waste generated by self-injectors, home healthcare patients, assisted living and long-term care facilities as well as professional offices such as doctors, dentists, vets and clinics.
“While medical waste disposal at hospitals and other healthcare facilities is highly regulated, medical waste outside of that setting has been largely unregulated for years,” states David P. Tusa, CEO and President of
Sharps Compliance. “It is amazing that we as a country regulate the disposal of car batteries, oil and tires but not something much more dangerous like used syringes--which if stuck could cause life threatening illnesses.”
The environmental consequences, economic costs and health risks of improper medical waste disposal are immense. Needles and syringes wash up on our beaches and needlestick injuries can create risk of exposure to hepatitis and HIV infection. An estimated 3 billion needles are generated outside of the hospital setting each year and up to 800,000 people are stuck by improperly discarded syringes annually, exposing them to the potential threat of disease or infection.
Of the almost four billion prescriptions written in the U.S. annually, up to 40 percent of dispensed pharmaceuticals outside the hospital setting go unused, generating more than 200 million pounds of pharmaceutical waste.
When unused or old meds are flushed down the sink or toilet they can contribute to contaminated water supplies. Pharmaceuticals, antibiotics, and other substances can be found in the majority of groundwater streams and in the drinking water of more than 40 million Americans. Even a common drug like aspirin can be harmful if used long after it has expired. The chemical name for aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid. Very old aspirin can break down into salicylic acid and thus cause irritation of the stomach. Salicylic acid is used topically for numerous skin conditions including removing warts!