Improper management of discarded needles and other sharps can pose a health risk to the public and waste workers. For example, discarded needles may expose waste workers to potential needle stick injuries and potential infection when containers break open inside garbage trucks or needles are mistakenly sent to recycling facilities. Janitors and housekeepers also risk injury if loose sharps poke through plastic garbage bags. Used needles can transmit serious diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis.
The Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal comprised of businesses, community groups, nonprofit organizations, and government, promotes public awareness and solutions for safe disposal of needles, syringes, and other sharps in the community.
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