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Medical waste re-use encourages spread of SARS
Xu Huian
4/30/2004

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China’s Ministry of Health has confirmed two cases of SARS. At present, the suspected sources of these two cases are infections from a lab. One big problem identified is that in China medical waste is often disposed of as normal waste. Some items that are considered medical waste have been washed and reused. This phenomenon poses a serious problem to SARS prevention.

According to a report from local Chinese media as quoted by TVBS, the special protective clothing used during the outbreak of SARS was made of plastic and was recycled from all of the medical waste from hospitals. First, the medical waste was rinsed with water, and was then washed and bleached with detergent and industrial bleach. After that, it was crushed into plastic granules, which were made into bags for food, containers, disposable cups and even toys for kids.

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