CDPHE Drafts Guidance on Medical Waste

Molly PereiraFeatured News

December 13, 2010

In early 2010, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) convened a stakeholder group to draft guidance related to the disposal of medical waste. The group has drafted three documents, many with potential impacts on the dental profession.

The first document provides information related to medical waste identification and helping a user correctly distinguish items that can be disposed of without restrictions from regulated disposals (including pharmaceuticals, radioactive materials, sharps, potential infection materials, etc.).  The second document addresses requirements for medical waste generators, which include private practitioners (dentists) and large medical facilities such as hospitals, funeral homes, emergency responders, trauma and crime scenes, and others.  The third guidance document addresses treatment and disposal of medical waste.

The CDA has been monitoring the second guidance document related to medical waste generators in particular, as several items discussed could have significant impact on the dental profession. Drafts of this document have proposed new storage requirements, construction and signage changes, potential refrigeration capacities, changes to medical waste management plans (known also as infection control plans) and requirements as extensive as mandating facilities/practitioners to obtain written authorization from their wastewater treatment facility prior to disposing of blood or body fluids down the drain. The CDA has been successful in negotiating to eliminate or mitigate the impact of many of these proposals.  The current drafts of the guidance documents are available at Please contact CDA Director of Governmental Relations Jennifer Goodrum at 303-996-2847 or with any comments on the proposals.