Throughout the course of the twentieth century, the relationship between germs, blood-borne pathogens, infectious materials, and human illness and disease came to be more fully understood. As these relationships began to be more clearly recognized, the concept of maintaining an aseptic treatment environment began to receive greater emphasis within the American health care industry.
The following are interesting topics on Toxic Waste that you can write a research paper on:
- The history of Toxic Waste Disposal
- How do companies recycle toxic waste?
- Do a case study on a company that overcame a spill of toxic waste and what they learned from the experience.
Over time, the increased understanding of the relationship between infectious materials and human illness and disease resulted in the development and implementation of an array of municipal, state, and federal regulations designed to mandate safe, standardized procedures for identifying, collecting, and disposing of certain types of toxic waste. As the knowledge of biohazardous materials and the potential harm associated with them advanced, the regulatory environment mandating their handling and disposal underwent a concomitant increase in complexity.
This complexity and regulatory stringency has resulted in increasingly intricate procedures for the proper treatment and disposal of toxic waste. As in any market that is defined by government regulation, the cost of these services has increased considerably in recent years. Many hospitals and other health care facilities have witnessed their infectious waste disposal costs rising at a pace that far outstrips their revenue from traditional sources. Paired with the massive reduction in state and federal tax monies that have been available in the aftermath of the economic downturn that started in 2000, these costs have significantly impacted expenditures and operating revenues for many hospitals, especially publicly-funded facilities.
Although the importance of maintaining an aseptic treatment environment is now a firmly established component of medical practice standards in the United States, another issue has emerged in recent decades that has further problematized the issue of infections waste disposal. Recent studies have revealed that a number of the common practices that have long been used in the treatment and disposal of toxic waste have contributed significantly to ecological and environmental damage. The widely prevalent practice of incineration of toxic waste, in particular, has been identified as a major source of air pollution.
At the current juncture, the costs associated with the proper disposal of toxic wastes represent a significant expenditure for the vast majority of health care facilities. Factors and variables that influence the cost of toxic waste disposal include the nature and characteristics of the waste, the treatment method to be employed, the geographical location of the facility, treatment site, and disposal site, navigating applicable environmental and transportation concerns, and ensuring compliance with government regulations.
In the past, the primary method of toxic waste disposal was incineration. Some health care facilities completed incineration on-site, while others contracted with outside service providers for off-site incineration. However, in recent years, growing opposition to the incineration approach has served to limit its prevalence and popularity. The most pressing concern is that there may be significant environmental damage associated with the incineration of toxic waste.
Indeed, recent data have suggested that toxic waste incineration is one of the leading causes of airborne contamination and pollution. As a result of these findings, there is increasing pressure on hospitals and health care facilities to limit their reliance on incinerators. Some municipalities and states have implemented or are considering the imposition of across-the-board bans on toxic waste incineration.
Within the last decade, technological advances have resulted in a veritable explosion of new and emerging toxic waste techniques and systems. The market has been flooded with new approaches since 1990, and this emphasis on innovation has been further encouraged by the declining prevalence of incineration-based disposal techniques.