Throughout the U.S., millions of Americans use injectable needles to treat a wide range of chronic illnesses. The needle pricks that help keep these people alive and well could prove dangerous for sanitation workers who pick up and sort our garbage. When not properly disposed of, needles can stick these workers, creating a risk of HIV, hepatitis and other diseases and leading to months of testing and medical treatment.
The problem, according to an article in the Bucks County Courier Times, is that workers rarely know where the needle came from and why it was used. A site manager for the sanitation company Waste Management says a needle could have been used by a person who needs insulin for diabetes, or by someone with HIV - which could have far more serious consequences for workers.