Protect  Yourself,
                        Protect  Others  i
                               for  Home  Needle  Disposal
                                                  44-year-old trash collector was
                                                  stuck in the leg with a needle froi
                                                  > someone's trash. A year later, he
                                            started having stomach pains. His doctor
                                            told him that he had caught Hepatitis C,
                                            probably from being stuck by the needle.
                                            Doctors have not been able to help him,
                                            and he is now in chronic  liver failure. He
                                            will likely die from this disease.

                                            It's not just trash workers who are at risk
                                            of needle sticks—it's also your neighbors,
                                            children, janitors, housekeepers, and pets
                                            That's why used needles should not be
                                            thrown in the garbage.
Why  are used
needles dangerous?

 Used needles and lancets are
 dangerous because they can:
 *  Injure people
 *  Spread germs
 +  Spread diseases such as HIV/AIDS,
    hepatitis, tetanus, and syphillis
 AM needles should be treated as if they carry a
 disease. That means that if someone gets stuck
 with a needle, they have to get expensive med-
 ical tests and worry about whether they have caught
 a harmful or deadly disease. Be sure you get rid of
 your used needles the safe way to avoid exposing other
 people to harm.
Loose needles in trash
                    Throw loose needles in the garbage

                    Flush used needles down the toilet

                    Put needles in recycling containers
Use one of the recommended
disposal methods in this brochure
           Remember, not all of the options listed in this brochure
           are available in all areas. Check carefully to see what
           options are available near you—it could save a life!

  Recommended  Needle   Disp
                                        Community  Services
 Collection Sites
Some communities offer
collection sites that accept used
needles—often for free. These
collection sites may be at local
hospitals, doctors' offices,
health clinics, pharmacies,
health departments, community
organizations, police and fire
departments, and medical waste
facilities. Don't just leave your
needles at one of these  places
—make sure the site accepts
them, and be sure to put
needles in the right place.
Hazardous Waste"
Many communities have a dis-
posal site already set up that
accepts "household hazardous
waste" items like used oil, bat-
teries, and paint. In some
places, these centers also
accept used needles. If your
area has a hazardous household
waste center, be sure it accepts
used needles before you go,
and put needles in the right
place when you drop them off.
 "Special Waste"
  Pickup Service
Some communities offer a
"special waste" pickup service
that collects your full container
of used needles from your
house. Some services require
you to call fora pickup, while
others collect used needles on
a regular schedule.
                               How Can I Find More Information?
   Call your trash or public health department, listed in the city or county government (blue) pages in
   your phone book, to find out about programs available in your area.
   Check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Web site at  for a list
   of needle disposal rules in your state, along with needle disposal programs near you.
   Ask your health care provider or local pharmacist if they can dispose of your used needles, or if
   they know of safe disposal programs near you.
   Contact the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal at (800) 643-1643 or visit the Web site
   at  to find out about safe disposal programs near you.
   Visit the Earth 911 Web site at . You can go to the "Household Hazardous Waste"
   section of the site and search for a needle disposal program near you by entering your ZIP code.
   To learn more about rules regarding medical waste disposal, consult EPA's Medical Waste Web site at
 The mention of any company, product or process in this publication does not constitute or Imply endorsement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

  al  Options  for  Self-Injectors
                                       National Services
Syringe Exchange
 Mail-back Service
These programs let you trade
your used needles for new
ones. The group that runs the
service will dispose of your
used needles safely.
Contact the North American
Syringe Exchange Program at
(253) 272-4857 or visit the
Web site at .
 You can buy this service, which
 comes with a needle container
 and mail-back packaging.
 You fill the needle container
 with your used needles and
 mail it back in the package that
 is provided by the company.
 You have to pay for this service,
 and the price  usually depends
 on the size of the container
 you pick.
    Home  Needle
 Several manufacturers offer
 products for sale that allow you
 to destroy needles at home by
 burning, melting or cutting off
 the needle—making it safe to
 throw in the garbage. Prices
 vary depending on the product.
                            How Can  I Find More Information?
For a list of mail-back service
companies, contact the
Coalition for Safe Community
Needle Disposal at
(800) 643-1643 or visit
the Web site at
When contacting a mail-back
service company, be sure to ask
them if the service is approved
by the U.S. Postal Service.
Contact the Coalition for Safe
Community Needle Disposal at
(800) 643-1643 or visit the
Web site at

fora list of companies that
make home needle destruction

Traveling  with  Needles

Don't forget, safe needle disposal is important no matter where you are—at
home, at work, or on the road. Never place used needles in the trash in hotel
rooms, on airplanes, or in public restrooms, where they could injure the clean-
ing staff or other people.
  Sharps and Air Travel

  Before you fly, check the Transportation
  Security Administration (ISA) Web site
  ( for up-to-date rules on what
  to do with your needles when you travel.
  To make your trip through airport security
  easier, make sure your medicines are
  labeled with the type of medicine and the
  manufacturer's name or a drug store label,
  and bring a letter from your doctor.
Be prepared—ask about options for
safe needle disposal when you make
travel  reservations, board an airplane,
or check into a hotel or cruise ship.
If you aren't sure that needle contain-
ers will be available where you're
going, be sure to buy  a needle contain-
er that you can take with you to  hold
your used needles until you can  throw
them  away the right way.
     United States
     Environmental Protection Agency
     Washington, DC 20460

     October 2004

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