The Andover Health Division is making it easier for residents to dispose of needles, syringes, lancets and other medical devices that can puncture the skin.
Thanks to a donation from Pfizer Biotech, the Health Division has purchased two sharps collection kiosks. One is located in the Public Safety Center at 32 North Main St. and the another in the Andover Senior Center on Whittier Court.
State law now prohibits the improper disposal of “sharps,” medical items that can puncture the skin in household trash. Officials say sharps that are inappropriately disposed of pose a serious threat to citizens’ health and safety, because they may cause injury or transmit blood-borne diseases such as Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or even HIV, especially among custodial staff, sanitation workers, children and pets.
“Safe disposal of sharps is a natural extension of Pfizer’s core commitment to patient safety. We are pleased to support implementation of Andover’s new sharps disposal program.,” Richard Nill, director of environmental health and safety for the Pfizer Andover facility in Andover, said in a release.
Used sharps must be placed in a rigid, puncture-proof container before being deposited in the kiosks. Individuals are advised to use an appropriately sized container to accommodate the number of used sharps requiring disposal. Sharps containers will be available for sale at the Health Department, senior center and at the Fire Department. Plastic bags or loose needles will not be accepted.
Once the kiosk is full, it will automatically lock. Do not leave containers outside of a locked kiosk.
The town Health Division has also partnered with the Department of Public Works, senior center and Police and Fire departments to develop a plan to sustain the project.
More information is available on the Health Division page of the town website at www.andoverma.gov/health or by calling the Health Division at 978-623-8295. For more, visit the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection website at www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/hazardous/medical.htm.