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FDA Launches Website on Safe Disposal of Used Needles and Other "Sharps"
Date:11/8/2011

SILVER SPRING, Md., Nov. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today launched a new website for patients and caregivers on the safe disposal of needles and other so-called "sharps" that are used at home, at work and while traveling.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20090824/FDALOGO)

The website will help people understand the public health risks created by improperly disposing of used sharps and how users should safely dispose of them.    

Sharps is a term for medical devices with sharp points or edges that can puncture or cut the skin. Such medical devices include hypodermic needles and syringes used to administer medication; lancets or fingerstick devices to collect blood for testing; needle and tubing systems for infusing intravenous and subcutaneous medicines; and connection needles used for home hemodialysis.  

After being used, many sharps end up in home and public trash cans or flushed down toilets. This kind of improper disposal puts people, such as sanitation workers, sewage treatment workers, janitors, housekeepers, family members and children at risk for needle stick injuries or infection with viruses such as Hepatitis B and C and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

"Safe disposal of used needles and other sharps is a public health priority," said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., director of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "This website provides information about how to keep used sharps from ending up in places where they could harm people."

With more diseases and conditions such as diabetes, cancer, allergies, arthritis and HIV being managed outside of hospitals and doctors' offices, the number of sharps used in homes and work offices is incr
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SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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