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Biomedical Waste Recovery and Disposal

STATE 

REGULATIONS

Case 10 Photos

Regulations prior to 1976 adopted by the Texas state administrative agencies were not published in a standardized collection.  These regulations were issued an identification number consisting of 10 digits, but researching was limited due to the multiple agencies charged with implementing and enforcing the laws.  

 

The Texas Legislature directed the Secretary of State to compile these regulations in 1977.  This compilation was named the Texas Administrative Code (TAC).  

 

The Texas Register publishes “proposed, adopted, withdrawn and emergency rule actions, notices of state agency review of agency rules, governor’s appointments, and attorney general opinions.”  The Texas Register reports the adoption of an agency final rule to the Circulation Desk and this final rule is inserted into the Texas Administrative Code.  

 

Under the TAC, 16 titles cover a broad subject group in categories related to the oversight agencies that administer and enforce the codes.  Title 25 Health Services Subchapter K. covers the definition, treatment, and disposition of special waste from Health Care-Related facilities.  

 

The federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act cites listed and characteristic waste to account for hazardous material.  In comparison, the TAC Title 25 has almost 50 definitions related to special waste.  

 

For instance, definition (6) Body Fluids are broken down into ten subcategories that range from semen to pericardial fluid.  Blood, blood products, anatomical remains, and pathological waste are all cited in different definitions.

 

TAC Title 30 Environmental Quality also covers hazardous waste under the definitions of animal waste from animals intentionally exposed to pathogens, bulk human blood and blood products, pathological waste, microbiological waste, and sharps.  

 

What you find at the state level, under TAC Title 30, is exemptions for household waste and waste from a place of lodging.  Title 42 Chapter 82 Subchapter III Section 6922 of RCRA does not cite these exemptions.  

 

So what might be exempt at the state level could be enforced and prosecuted on the federal level.

 

What this shows is that at the federal level, the legislation is purposely written vague to cover a wide range of waste and conditions.  Under the U.S. Constitution, states cannot regulate interstate commerce.  So, the adoption of standards at the state level must meet the hurdle set by the federal legislation.  Each state, such as Texas, can come in and clarify what they consider hazardous waste and dictate the treatment and disposal method as long as it doesn’t contradict the federal legislation. 

 

California, in relation to Texas, has gone even further to document the required permits and processes, enforcement guidelines, and has created more detailed definitions related to the components of the industry.  California legislators have created requirements that range from the impact resistance test requirements for Biohazard Bags to Enforcement Officer requirements that go all the way down to “health specialist trainees”.  Trauma Scene, Trauma Scene Waste, and Trauma Scene Waste Management Practitioners are all clearly defined in the Medical Waste Management Act.  

 

This detailed legislation may seem tedious but there are benefits to more clearly defined legislation.  When the legislation is written in direct relation to your individual task, such as Trauma Scene Waste Management Practitioners in California, the target market is more knowledgeable about your service.  

 

The interstate commerce of waste disposal cannot be limited by the states in response to the public outrage expressed in “Not in my backyard” (NIMBY) or the philosophy of something near “yes, sounds great but don’t put it near me.”  

 

One of the best examples is the residual nuclear waste from power plants that must be stored on site before they approve a plan to transport, across many state lines, this waste to Nevada’s Yucca Mountain storage facility.  

 

No one wants hazardous waste moving down their street or stored on property anywhere close to where they live, but these are byproducts of necessary processes or accidents that must be disposed of properly.  The framers of the U.S. Constitution constructed these guidelines before the knowledge of hazardous waste, such as bloodborne pathogens and nuclear fuel rods, was ever developed. 

 

In general, administrative agencies have the power to assess administrative penalties and to issue orders requiring actions necessary under law.  Persons affected by such action have the right to an adjudicatory hearing before an administrative law judge.  

 

Texas law provides that administrative law judge hears evidence and issues findings of fact and conclusions of law based on the evidence.  This administrative law judge then issues a recommendation for decision to the agency.  

 

A final agency decision rests with agency, such as the commissioners of the TCEQ.  Examples of government action options are below.

 

Procedures before administrative law judges.

a. Non-jury trial.

b. Administrative law judges can order discovery.

c. Parties submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.

 

Procedure before agency.

a. Parties generally are given a brief opportunity to summarize their arguments to the commissioners. 

b. No evidence taken; decision based on administrative law judge's report, although agency need not accept recommendation.

 

Appeals of administrative enforcement action.

a. To County District Court.

b. Court's review is similar to an appellate court's review of a trial decision;

c. Generally, no evidence at district court.

d. District court reviews errors of law and whether substantial evidence supports agency decision.

 

Administrative penalties are generally less than civil penalties.  Statutes give the attorney general the right to sue for civil penalties and injunctive relief.  Both parties have the right to demand a jury trial regarding the number of 

violations and the amount of civil penalty.

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We provide biohazard medical waste pickup for compliant disposal for your dental surgeon, dentist, doctor, funeral home, or clinical practice. And unattended death cleanup.

 

Your needles and sharps containers may be locked and included in the medical waste box contents for destruction in the Plano, Garland, TX area.

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