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Oakland Tribune: Gov. Schwarzenegger should sign bill regulating needle disposal

Friday, September 25, 2009

Op-ed by Keith Carson and Anita Siegel

Shortly, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will have the opportunity to sign Senate Bill 486 into law. The bill, authored by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), gives pharmaceutical manufacturers the opportunity to develop plans for the safe disposal of sharps waste that will help consumers access safe disposal alternatives for their home-generated needles, and reduce the public safety and environmental risks arising from sharps disposed in the regular waste stream. [...]

We believe that the pharmaceutical manufacturers are in a unique position to educate their consumers on the serious risks of improper needle disposal, and to develop and promote programs that recover and dispose of the needles used by their customers.

SB 486 advances this goal by requiring the pharmaceutical manufacturers that sell or distribute self-injected medications to: (1) submit a plan to the California Department of Resource Recovery describing how they support the safe collection and disposal of home-generated sharps waste; and (2) to post a copy of the plan on their Web site.

Pharmaceutical manufacturers need to assume their responsibility for the appropriate disposal of their products and thereby assist the millions of Californians who rely on self-injected medications and want to safely manage their used needles.

Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson sits on the Health and Legislative Subcommittees of the board of supervisors. Anita Siegel, RN, MPH, is the acting director of the Alameda County Public Health Department.

Read the full op-ed on the Oakland Tribune website