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Do Medical Waste Disposal Regulations Vary in States?

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Over the last decade, environmental issues have received a lot of media interest and governmental concern. Medical waste and its management have been a source of intense debate, particularly in the past.

Overview of the Regulation

As the framework of medical waste control was being established in the late 1980s, Environmental Protection Agency was a key player. Other types of environmental control, such as air pollution and waste materials, followed a similar trend.

On a federal level, a basic structure was created, which was then implemented with slight changes for each state. In the present, on the other hand, the EPA is no longer in charge of medical waste regulatory oversight. Instead, states and other government departments have assumed that position.

Medical Waste Regulations in the State

To some extent, medical waste laws have been enforced in almost all 50 states. However, local medical waste laws differ with regards to state hazardous waste regulatory requirements, all of which are centered on national RCRA requirements.

Some state medical waste regulations are modeled after the Medical Waste Tracking Act, although others bear little to no similarity to the landmark legislation.

Most states' environmental safety agencies are in charge of establishing and implementing medical waste treatment and disposal legislation. In certain states, the department of health can play a significant role if not the primary government organization.


In the past, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had a major role in regulating medical waste disposal. Today, most states have implemented different laws and regulations concerning medical waste management.