New Law Says No Needles Allowed In Trash Cans - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

New Law Says No Needles Allowed In Trash Cans

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A new law restricts the disposal of more than 75,000 used needles and medical sharps generated every day in San Diego County. The law is aimed at protecting trash workers, and prohibits throwing away used needles in residential garbage.\r\n\r\nDoctor Steven Edelman has been a diabetic for more than 35 years. As founder of the non-profit Taking Control of Your Diabetes group, Dr. Edelman has concerns about a new state law restricting the disposal of used needles.\r\n\r\n"There are a lot of people on insulin using needles, for pumps, for finger prickers - all kinds of things, and they don't even know about the rule," he said.\r\n\r\nIn the past, many diabetics would store used needles in milk jugs or coffee cans and throw them into the garbage. That became illegal on Sept. 1.\r\n\r\nNow, the needles have to be transported to a county hazardous waste site, or disposed of via mail-order plastic containers.\r\n\r\n"Whether you drop them off, it's a hassle because you're busy and the high price of gas, or to mail them inÖ it's very expensive. So the system is not set up to easily comply with this rule," Edelman said.\r\n\r\nThe law is meant to protect trash workers from getting stuck by needles that could be contaminated.\r\n\r\n"If needles are put into the trash, especially loose or even in a container, they could spill out into the trash and solid waste workers could be exposed," county environmental health specialist KariLyn Merlos said.\r\n\r\nThe county health department will not be inspecting residential garbage cans unless they get a complaint. \r\n\r\nRight now, there are only 10 drop-off sites countywide, and half of those require an appointment.\r\n\r\n"We are planning on putting kiosks in place, mailbox-sized drop-off locations where residents can drop off their needles," Merlos said.\r\n\r\nYou can purchase disposal containers over the internet that include mail-back options starting around $40 for a one-quart container.\r\n
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