Presentation Title

Biomedical Waste and the Environmental Crisis

Faculty Mentor

Brian Kennedy

Start Date

17-11-2018 1:30 PM

End Date

17-11-2018 1:45 PM

Location

C304

Session

Oral 3

Type of Presentation

Oral Talk

Subject Area

health_nutrition_clinical_science

Abstract

Key Words: sustainability, healthcare, biomedical waste, public health,

Hypothesis: Creating a sustainable world in which humans can thrive without threatening ecological collapse requires overhaul of the way humans interact with nature. Today’s science community seems to neglect topics outside of food and transportation. However, this research demonstrates the need for reform in the healthcare industry's current methods of disposal of biomedical waste, which currently is largely unregulated. I hypothesize that the majority of healthcare businesses are disposing their waste in detrimental ways for our environment and our health.

Rationale: If humans continue to change the way the environment functions, the environment will no longer sustain us. Humans cannot change every detrimental habit overnight; instead we should be looking at the strategy of ‘death by a thousand cuts.’ We should make as many changes as possible in as many areas as possible, including healthcare.

Methods: Numerous sources were consulted along with in-field research including interviews with hospitals.

Results: I found far more waste is unregulated than previously thought and the unregulated disposal has a larger impact on human health than hypothesized. This research can potentially benefit the healthcare field by advocating for more environmentally sustainable protocols which will contribute to healthier patients.

Conclusions: My hypothesis stated that the vast majority of healthcare operations were disposing their waste in a way that was detrimental to the environment. My research supported this hypothesis and illustrated a desperate need for reform. Note that this research does not distinguish between types of healthcare services, such as elective surgeries vs pediatric surgery.

As I move forward with my education I hope to be an advocate for sustainability in my field of work. When I work in a hospital setting I hope that some of the problems outlined by my research will have been met with solutions.

Summary of research results to be presented

My hypothesis stated that the vast majority of healthcare operations were disposing their waste in a way that was detrimental to the environment and human health. My research supported this hypothesis to an extent that was unexpected and illustrated a far more desperate need for environmental reform than previously thought. The broader implication of this research points to the idea that our society is excessively using disposable products in the healthcare system (and in general) and we as an American (and specifically Californian) society may be over-utilizing the cosmetic surgery field. Unfortunately this research is extremely limited to a 10-15 mile radius surrounding my own residential area. This research is also limited because it is a broad overview of the healthcare industry and does not distinguish between types of healthcare services. For example: cosmetic surgery offices, private practice, pediatric surgery, orthopedic surgery and so on.

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Nov 17th, 1:30 PM Nov 17th, 1:45 PM

Biomedical Waste and the Environmental Crisis

C304

Key Words: sustainability, healthcare, biomedical waste, public health,

Hypothesis: Creating a sustainable world in which humans can thrive without threatening ecological collapse requires overhaul of the way humans interact with nature. Today’s science community seems to neglect topics outside of food and transportation. However, this research demonstrates the need for reform in the healthcare industry's current methods of disposal of biomedical waste, which currently is largely unregulated. I hypothesize that the majority of healthcare businesses are disposing their waste in detrimental ways for our environment and our health.

Rationale: If humans continue to change the way the environment functions, the environment will no longer sustain us. Humans cannot change every detrimental habit overnight; instead we should be looking at the strategy of ‘death by a thousand cuts.’ We should make as many changes as possible in as many areas as possible, including healthcare.

Methods: Numerous sources were consulted along with in-field research including interviews with hospitals.

Results: I found far more waste is unregulated than previously thought and the unregulated disposal has a larger impact on human health than hypothesized. This research can potentially benefit the healthcare field by advocating for more environmentally sustainable protocols which will contribute to healthier patients.

Conclusions: My hypothesis stated that the vast majority of healthcare operations were disposing their waste in a way that was detrimental to the environment. My research supported this hypothesis and illustrated a desperate need for reform. Note that this research does not distinguish between types of healthcare services, such as elective surgeries vs pediatric surgery.

As I move forward with my education I hope to be an advocate for sustainability in my field of work. When I work in a hospital setting I hope that some of the problems outlined by my research will have been met with solutions.