DOT Approves Special Permit for the Safe Transport of Ebola Infected Medical Materials
The recent outbreak of Ebola in the United States has promoted the Department of Transportation to issue a special permit for transportation of infected medical materials.
The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to announce this special permit back in October.
The special permit was issued to a Lake Forest, Illinois transport company who worked in conjunction with the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas to dispose of contaminated waste.
The permit allows for the disposal of all Ebola related contaminated waste throughout the state of Texas. The special permit will be issued to specific companies directly, to solidify their qualifications for disposing of such toxic and infectious waste.
The permit issued to Stericycle, Inc provides two options for packaging and transporting such material. A requirement of specialized inner and outer packaging covered in CDC approved disinfectant is included in both packaging options.
Special instructions have been sent along with the approved permit to the company in question. These instructions aim at helping keep employees and the public safe during the decontamination process.
Because the materials associated with the Ebola virus are considered to be Category A infectious substance, special requirements must be made to accommodate for larger shipments of contaminated waste.
Additionally, Ebola patients produce large amounts of hazardous waste making larger shipments a reality. This presents a unique challenge for DOT and the CDC. The special permit aims to make shipments easier on the companies who handle them and the employees who put themselves at risk.
The special permit for the waste removal was given to one company. However, that permit is only good between the contract it has with the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas company. They are not legally certified to eliminate hazardous waste for any other hospital.
The Texas health department is therefore responsible for the inner workings and handling of this particular permit.
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