New Standard Will Help Decommission Medical Equipment

A new ASTM International standard focuses on unique requirements and challenges associated with decommissioning and disposing of used medical equipment.

ASTM International member Gary Quinn notes that the new standard addresses how to deal with the fact that used medical equipment may be contaminated with dangerous chemicals, pathogens, or other potentially hazardous materials. Such equipment at the end of its life cycle might also have nuclear power sources that need to be handled.

“In addition, much medical equipment records personal information of patients,” says Quinn. “That information must be sanitized.”  The standard also touches on issues surrounding selling medical equipment, particularly pieces that can only be sold to those who have a license to acquire such pieces.

Medical clinics, hospitals, universities, and laboratories that use medical equipment will find the new standard useful.

ASTM’s committee on asset management (E53) developed the standard (E3173).  The subcommittee that developed this standard is creating other guides dealing with medical decommissioning and disposal issues and invites anyone interested to join. Their next meeting is Aug. 7 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.


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