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Thread: X-Ray Lead is Medical Waste?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master dsbock's Avatar
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    X-Ray Lead is Medical Waste?

    When I was at my dentist last week I asked about the lead from the x-ray films. I was told they couldn't give it to me because it was medical waste.

    That's a new one on me.

    Anyone else get this response?

    Thanks.

    David
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master fredj338's Avatar
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    Well, then it would cost him to get rid of it or he can have you save him some mooney & take it home. It's why my dentist had a 30#+ box sitting in his cuboard, it is declared med waste, that only means you can't toss it in the trash.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    My dentist has gone to a digital x-ray, no more film. Pops the sensor in your mouth, and as soon as they zap your mouth with x-rays the pic shows up on his lap top.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master dsbock's Avatar
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    Mine still uses the sharp edged plastic wafers that they wedge against your gums.

    He says that the image quality is better.

    Who am I to judge. I just want the lead.

    David
    Cats are fun and magical when you can't smell their poop! Fresh Step!

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  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Texasflyboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsbock View Post
    When I was at my dentist last week I asked about the lead from the x-ray films. I was told they couldn't give it to me because it was medical waste.

    That's a new one on me.

    Anyone else get this response?

    Thanks.

    David
    Dental X-ray film usually has saliva contamination and as such is considered by many regulatory agencies as bio-hazard medical waste.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I have found that people will 'tell you' something just so they do not have to tell you no personally. Sometimes its simply because they are unsure and do not want to take the chance of telling you that they will look into it and then have you hound them until they do.

    Other times its just easier for them to say that then say no. Its just the way things are now days. You pretty much find it anywhere you go, anything you do.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texasflyboy View Post
    Dental X-ray film usually has saliva contamination and as such is considered by many regulatory agencies as bio-hazard medical waste.
    The film is not where the lead comes from. The lead is the package that the film comes in. It is never exposed to the patient.
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  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy Hammerlane's Avatar
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    My wife is in the Biz and burnt 2 bags full not much lead , alot a waste as in paper ash
    I would rather fish. Can you shoot fish ?
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master John in WI's Avatar
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    Does the lead have anything to do with the film? I was under the impression that the "x-ray lead" was the lead sheathing they line the rooms with, to absorb X-rays so they don't end up going out into the hallway and waiting room. My old denstist had an office in an old bank, and you would have to sit in a chair in the vault for an X-ray. I guess 10" of steel works just as well!
    Too much of a good thing is an awesome thing!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Texasflyboy View Post
    Dental X-ray film usually has saliva contamination and as such is considered by many regulatory agencies as bio-hazard medical waste.
    We are interested in the lead foil that is removed prior to the x-rays being taken, not the film that was in the patients mouth.
    Dan in NC Call me TD

  11. #11
    Boolit Head


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    In our "sue me first, and ask questions later: society these days, they are probably woried more about liability if you get lead poisoning rather than bio-hazard.

    But, the "dont want to tell you no" theory has a lot of weight too!


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  12. #12
    Boolit Master John in WI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trooperdan View Post
    We are interested in the lead foil that is removed prior to the x-rays being taken, not the film that was in the patients mouth.
    I'm not doubting you--this is an honest question out of real interest. The X-ray films come with a lead foil backer? I've never heard of that. I've never actually seen the film, and now my doctor switched over to the digital system that doesn't use film.
    Too much of a good thing is an awesome thing!

  13. #13
    Boolit Master



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    John, yes, those that still use the old films peel the film out of a lead foil package before putting it into a patients mouth. I got a box about 12x12x6 full of foil and it only yielded maybe 5 pounds as I recall. But it was very soft, likely pure lead. My dentist has switched over to digital now. guess she was making enough money off guys like me and could afford it!
    Dan in NC Call me TD

  14. #14
    My dentist gives me a box of the foils every 6 months when I get my teeth cleaned. I've been a patient there 30 years.

    It is usually 5 to 8 lbs, but hey, lead is lead.
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  15. #15
    Vendor Sponsor evan price's Avatar
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    As someone who worked in the Regulated Medical Waste industry-

    Lead is not allowed in the RMW stream because the only methods of treating RMW to be safely disposed are either incineration, autoclaving, microwave or chemical. In any case the treated RMW is now residual waste and safe to add to the conventional waste stream (AKA landfill). If lead is put into the incinerator it makes the emissions a problem. Typically large RMW generators keep lead materials along with any radiotherapy items in a vault for it to half life out. Small generators (dentists, vets, etc) are more free to do what they want. I know of several small practices the owner takes the stuff home to put it in his home garbage. One vet I know saves his needles and puts them in gallon jugs and then fills it with Quickrete so it goes in his garbage.

    You'd be surprised how many morticians conceal items in caskets and inside the bodies of their clients to be buried.

    Technically what decides if an item is RMW or not is a number of factors-
    1. Can it be disposed of at no risk in a sanitary sewer (fluids, surgical drainage and suction canister contents, etc)
    2. Has it come in contact with bodily fluids or a patient who is infectious?
    3. Has it been placed into a red-bag RMW container (If so, it has to stay in there)
    4. Is it sharps waste (Needles, blades, etc)
    5. Is it samples or specimens from pathology?


    Our industry studies showed that about 75% of waste placed in the RMW stream was actually NOT necessary to be there, such as people putting soda cans in the nearest container which happened to be red bag, staff putting gloves and other supplies in red bag without need, cleaners not dumping fluids into the sanitary sewer, etc.

    Once a client had to treat and dispose of three cubic yards of telephone books because the staff removing old phone books couldn't find regular trash bags, so they used red bags, which made the phone books RMW once they were put inside.

    That was at one time probably one of the nastiest jobs I ever had was in that industry.
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  16. #16
    Boolit Master




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    However it comes, wherever it's used, I have a dentist (not mine) that calls me every 2 or 3 months and I go pick up a bag of foils. Over maybe 3 years, I now have about 15 - 20 lbs of the foils. I just smash them into softball size globs and store them. One of these days, I'm gonna have to melt those babies and keep separate and mark them. enjoy Mike
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    I get small baggies regularly from my dentist, every 2-3 mos. I am just saving them up and when I get enough I will smelt them down. Free is free!
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  18. #18
    Boolit Master John in WI's Avatar
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    Our safety/radiological group on campus is really wierd about some things, but as it turns out they gave a freind of mine a mountain of lead without a question. It was funny--he mentioned he was going to cast boolits, and she said "no you aren't--you're going to make fishing sinkers".
    Ok, sinkers it is!
    Her only issue was that each block is marked with an identification number, and she said if she EVER hears of one coming back, the deal's over.
    They are pretty strict and play by the book, so I have to assume she's not doing anything illegal. They are so paranoid, if there was any chance of backlash I'm certain it would be a straight out "NO!"
    Still, I'm hording it while I can. The day will probably come when the word gets out and the deal's off.
    Too much of a good thing is an awesome thing!

  19. #19
    Boolit Master JDFuchs's Avatar
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    The scrap dealer near me has two 55gal drums full of the lead mouth inserts! just taken out of the plastic covers and sitting there for sale.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master dsbock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trooperdan View Post
    We are interested in the lead foil that is removed prior to the x-rays being taken, not the film that was in the patients mouth.
    Exactly, the lead foil for protecting the film during transit and storage. It should never come in contact with the patient.

    From what I hear it is nearly dead pure lead. This would be useful for alloying some other lead sources I have.

    I'll have to ask around at some of the other dentists in the area. See what they say.

    David
    Cats are fun and magical when you can't smell their poop! Fresh Step!

    JPFO; NCOWS; NRA; NYSRPA; SAF, SASS

    I'm looking for a shooter grade Smith & Wesson Victory model in .38 Special.

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