Medical Waste Tracking Act

The Medical Waste Tracking Act of 1988 (abbreviated MWTA) was passed by the United States Congress in 1988. This act was a response to the incidents in 1987 where medical waste, such as vials of blood and syringes, washed up on the shores of Ocean and Monmouth counties in New Jersey, and some Long Island beaches, during the summer of 1988. The incident sparked unprecedented numbers of local swimming bans. The act provided for more systematic tracking of medical waste, and budgeted money for studies of waste-related disease promulgation.

The studies indicated that disease is most threatening at the time when the waste is created, but afterwards the threat lessens with time. During the lifetime of the act, the EPA stipulated that medical waste disposal must be done by incineration. It expired June 21, 1999.


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