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NO ONE PROTESTS IDAHO RULES FOR INFECTIOUS-WASTE DISPOSAL

SHARE NO ONE PROTESTS IDAHO RULES FOR INFECTIOUS-WASTE DISPOSAL

It was a hot issue last year, but most people now seem content with the state's plans to revise regulations on disposal of infectious waste from Idaho hospitals.

That was the opinion of state officials who conducted a hearing on the proposed regulations Thursday night at Idaho State University. Six people turned out for the meeting but no one was interested in testifying.The turnout in Pocatello was not much different than response in Boise and Coeur d'Alene earlier this week, said Loyal Perry of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Two people showed up at the Coeur d'Alene hearing and six people attend in Boise. Only one person testified at the Boise hearing, a mortician who had questions concerning what to do about remains of AIDS victims.

It is the second time the state has conducted public hearings on proposed changes in the hospital regulations. Last year, hospital officials and members of the Idaho Medical Association objected to rules they said were too stringent and went beyond guidelines provided by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Environmental Protection Agency.

As initially proposed, the regulations would have required everything that came in contact with a patient to be handled as infectious waste and incinerated. Hospital officials said the cost of compliance would be prohibitive.

As a result, the rule-making process was put on hold and a task force including representatives from hospitals throughout the state met to revise the regulations.

Perry said the new rules are more realistic and do not require every hospital to install an incinerator. Instead, small hospitals can contract with infectious-waste handlers to remove the waste.

Infectious waste is defined as any specimen from medical and pathology laboratories, including cultures and human blood and blood products.