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Syringe stewardship program

Published (3/4/2010)
By Sue Hegarty
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Used syringes are one step closer to being kept out of the waste stream, where they have the potential to poke and infect hospitality and waste management workers.

The House Environment Policy and Oversight Committee approved HF1372/ SF1323* Feb. 25 and referred it to the House Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight Committee.

Rep. Paul Gardner (DFL-Shoreview), who sponsors the bill with Sen. Kathy Sheran (DFL-Mankato), said the state does a good job of protecting its public employees by placing containers for syringe disposal in public buildings, but that lawmakers can do a better job of protecting hospitality and waste management workers.

An estimated 30 million syringes are sold annually in Minnesota. The bill would require manufacturers to share in the efforts and educational costs of collection by offering containers where syringes are sold. The bill stops short of requiring what people should do with the containers once they are filled.

The bill was passed 65-1 by the Senate last session.

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