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LAMC fined for improper waste disposal

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By Gabriel Vasquez

Improper disposal of infectious waste goes hand-in-hand with hefty fines from the New Mexico Environment Department.

No place knows better than Los Alamos Medical Center, which was issued a $51,250 penalty by the state Tuesday for three violations of the Solid Waste Act occurring from October 2006 through January 2007.

The inspections determined the hospital attempted to improperly dispose infectious waste at the county landfill – including two human placentas with attached umbilical cords, vials of blood, gauze, bedding, plastic tubing and needles.

“These are what we refer to as severe to major (violations), the most egregious type,” said Auralie Ashley-Marx, chief of the Solid Waste Bureau of the New Mexico Environment Department.

The Solid Waste Act and New Mexico Solid Waste Rules bar the hospital from disposing of infectious waste at landfills. The potentially hazardous waste must be sterilized by an autoclave or by other means prior to disposal to prevent potential disease from spreading

“The concern with this is that it is potentially infectious material,” Ashley-Marx said. “Bags could be contaminated with hepatitis or blood-born illness.”


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