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General Laws

Section 27A. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the department of environmental protection and the department of public health, in conjunction with other relevant state and local agencies and government departments, shall design, establish and implement, or cause to be implemented a program for the collection and disposal of spent non-commercially generated hypodermic needles and lancets. The program shall be designed to protect the public health and the environment by providing for the safe, secure and accessible collection and disposal of hypodermic needles and lancets. The departments may collaborate with private companies as well as not-for-profit agencies when designing, establishing and implementing this program.

(b) (1) Sharps disposal programs may include, but are not limited to the following:-

(i) a program for safe, secure home sharp disposal;

(ii) establishing sharps collection centers in medical facilities and pharmacies;

(iii) establishing sharps collection centers in municipal facilities, including, but not limited to, fire stations, police stations and public health offices; provided that sharps collection centers may be located at senior centers only for the purpose of disposing of medically necessary hypodermic needles; and

(iv) medical waste mail-back programs approved by the United States Postal Service.

(2) Medical facilities, pharmacies and participating municipal facilities may work with the department of public health and the department of environmental protection to determine the proper program for sharps disposal implementation within each community.

(c) For the purposes of this section, a “sharps collection center” shall be an identified site within a community which:

(1) uses only collection containers that meet the requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the federal Department of Transportation and is marked with the international biohazard symbol;

(2) provides secure and accessible collection containers on site;

(3) accepts sharps from sharps users that are in leak-proof, rigid, puncture-resistant and shatterproof containers;

(4) provides appropriate transfer containers for sharps users who fail to bring their sharps in suitable containers for placement in the collection container;

(5) has a written agreement with a medical waste transporter providing for regularly scheduled waste pickups; and

(6) stores, handles, transports and treats the collected waste in accordance with department of public health regulations.

(d) The program shall be designed to protect the public health and the environment by providing for the safe, secure and accessible collection and disposal of hypodermic needles and lancets. The department of public health, in consultation with the department of environmental protection, shall adopt regulations to ensure the safe, secure and accessible collection and disposal of hypodermic needles and lancets, and shall provide recommendations for legislative action to the joint committee on public health, the senate and house committees on ways and means and the clerks of the senate and house of representatives. Included in the recommendations for legislative action shall be recommended punishments and fines for the inappropriate, unsafe or unlawful disposal of the hypodermic needles and lancets.

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