Potentially Infectious Medical Waste
The Potentially Infectious Medical Waste (PIMW) regulations were passed in 1993. These regulations were the result of a national scare from needles and other medical waste washing up on beaches in the late 1980s. Because of the diversity of populations and requirements, each state has its own individual medical waste regulations. The Bureau of Land is responsible for administering this PIMW program in Illinois. The PIMW regulations can be found in 35 Illinois Administrative Code: Subtitle M
Potentially Infectious Medical Waste (PIMW) is waste generated in connection with the diagnosis, treatment (i.e., provision of medical services), or immunization of human beings or animals; research pertaining to the provision of medical services; or the provision or testing of biologicals. The complete definition of PIMW can be found in 35 Illinois Administrative Code 1420.102. All PIMW must be treated to eliminate the infectious potential, and sharps must be treated and either made unrecognizable or packaged properly prior to disposal. PIMW can only be transported by a licensed PIMW hauler to a permitted transfer, storage, or treatment facility. Once PIMW has been treated and the sharps have been packaged properly, it can be placed in a landfill.
Any facility which accepts PIMW from off-site (i.e., a commercial transfer, storage, or treatment facility, etc.) requires a permit. Permit application forms which are required for a PIMW permit include LPC-PA1, LPC-PA8, LPC-PA16, and LPC-PA17.
PIMW does NOT include medical waste generated in a household. If a person chooses to place this medical waste in with their trash, the following guidelines help protect the trash haulers, landfill workers, and others who may come in contact with the waste. First, the medical waste should be placed in a sturdy container such as a sharps container from the pharmacy, a laundry detergent bottle, or a soda bottle. When the container is full, the lid should be put on the container and taped in place. The container should then be marked "Do Not Recycle" and then placed in the regular trash.
Other agencies which may regulate generators of PIMW include:
- OSHA (for worker safety) (312) 353-2220
- Illinois Department of Public Health (for healthcare facilities) (217) 785-2629
For additional information, contact Beverly Albarracin at (217) 524-3289.