Hospitals in the United States produce approximately 4.5 million tons of medical waste, 15% of which is considered infectious due to contamination by bodily fluids and medicinal residues. One way that hospitals dispose of medical waste is through incineration; around 90% of medical waste is burned. Incineration of medical waste and the pollution generated is regulated by the EPA though they have nothing to do with the incineration process itself. Generally hospitals can hire an outside firm to handle the disposal, but there is a case of a hospital in Pennsylvania that incinerated its own waste and harnessed the heat energy produced to power the facilities (http://www.cheresources.com/medwastezz.shtml). Other ways of disposing of medical waste include microwave and steam sterilization, electropyrolosis, and chemical mechanical systems.
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