Title:
Sharps Instrument Disposal
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A disposal system for sharps, such as contaminated needles or syringes, comprising a container for receiving and storing the sharps. A sharp instrument is inserted through an entry opening. When the sharps within the container have reached a certain level, a coagulant is poured into the container. This coagulant hardens and encompasses the sharps. This process can be repeated at intervals until the container is full. The lid is then closed and the container ready for disposal in a landfill or some other appropriate location.



Inventors:
Leow, Ngah Chai (Selangor, MY)
Application Number:
11/916989
Publication Date:
08/07/2008
Filing Date:
06/05/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
220/810
International Classes:
B65D81/00; B65D43/18
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Primary Examiner:
STEPHENS III, JOSE S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HAUPTMAN HAM, LLP (2318 Mill Road Suite 1400, Alexandria, VA, 22314, US)
Claims:
1. A disposal system for sharps, comprising: a container defined by a top, a bottom, and a side wall; an entry opening located at a top of said container into which sharps are inserted; means for separating sharps located at a periphery of said entry opening to remove said sharps from their original holders; and a coagulant, which is poured into the container and hardens to encompass any sharps within the container.

2. (canceled)

3. (canceled)

4. The disposal system as defined in claim 1, wherein said coagulent has disinfectant properties.

5. The disposal system as defined in claim 1, further comprising a lid which is pivotally attached to the container, for covering said opening, and sealing the contents within.

6. The disposal system as defined in claim 1, wherein the top wall of said container is made of transparent material to facilitate visual inspection of level of contents.

7. (canceled)

8. The disposal system as defined in claim 1, wherein said coagulant is selected from a group consisting of epoxy, latex, polymer and gypsum.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present Application is based on International Application No. PCT/SG2006/000142 filed on Jun. 6, 2006 which in turn corresponds to Malaysia Application No. PI 20052597 filed on Jun. 8, 2005, and priority is hereby claimed under 35 USC §119 based on these applications. Each of these applications are hereby incorporated by reference in their entirety into the present application.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a system for safe and effective disposal of contaminated sharp instruments, such as needles or syringes.

BACKGROUND ART

Safe and effective disposal of contaminated sharp instruments is of great concern to medical and public health workers. These instruments are sometimes referred to as “sharps”. This concern is caused by the possibility of transmittable diseases such as AIDS and Hepatitis B being contracted by medical personnel or others who frequently handle these contaminated materials. This is more afflictive when dealing with sharp instruments such as needles or syringes, in that the contagions responsible for the transmission of these diseases usually enter the body through breaks in the skin. Accordingly, there is a need for a system which safely and effectively disposes contaminated sharps, including storage, transport, and ultimate disposal.

There are existing inventions that may seem to have a similar functionality as the invention described herein. One example is the Sharps Disposal System (U.S. Pat. No. 5,038,929). This apparatus receives an entire syringe in individual compartments, and immerses it in liquid which hardens to contain the syringe and any contaminants. It is capable of recording the number of syringes it receives if that is so desired. The invention described herein is different from the invention described above in that there are no individual compartments for each syringe. This is beneficial when there are other sharp objects, other than syringes that need to be disposed of. If the sharp objects are smaller than the size of a syringe, a whole compartment is not used, and hence space is saved.

Another invention is the Interim storage and permanent disposal of medical sharps (U.S. Pat. No. 6,142,303). This system differs from the invention described herein in that it uses a completely different method of encompassing and containing the sharps within the receptacle. It utilizes a granular or powdery substance such as calcium hypochlorite to inhibit microorganism growth and a separate, cementitious slurry that hardens around the sharps being stored inside the receptacle.

Accordingly, it is a principal object of the invention herein to provide a system for the safe and effective disposal of contaminated sharps.

It is also an object of the invention herein to provide a sharps disposal system which isolates and secures sharps from after it is used until final disposal.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A disposal system for contaminated sharps comprises a container having an entry opening. A sharp instrument may be inserted through the entry opening, and stored in the container. After an interim period a coagulent may be poured into the container to harden and encompass the sharps which are inside. This can be done at several intervals.

According to other aspects of the invention, the coagulent may be an epoxy or polymer which solidifies upon mixing. The coagulent may have anti-bacterial or disinfectant agents which assist in containing the spread of contagions in the container.

Other and more specific objects and features of the invention herein will appear in the following description of the preferred embodiment and the claims, taken together with the drawings.

BRIEF DESCRITION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1a &1b shows the top view and the side view of a disposal system according to the present invention, including the container and lid.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

In accordance with the present invention, FIG. 1 shows a disposal container 10 for receiving and storing contaminated sharps, such as needles 50, having a lid 30. There is an entry opening 20 at the location of the lid 30 where the sharps 50 are inserted.

The preferred embodiment of the container 10 generally comprises side walls, a bottom wall, a top wall and a lid 30 pivotally attached to the top wall. The embodiment of the container wherein such a container is cylindrical in shape will comprise a side wall running around the circumference of the container, a bottom wall, a. top wall, and a lid pivotally attached to the top wall. The top wall may be made from transparent material to facilitate visual inspection of level of contents.

When the level of sharps 50 in the container 10 reaches a certain level, the container may be filled with a coagulent 40 which is poured into said container. The coagulent 40 will harden and encompass the sharps 50 within the container 10. The coagulent 40 may be an epoxy, polymer, latex, or a derivative of latex, and gypsum include anti-bacterial or disinfectant properties in order that the spread of any contaminants be inhibited.

The entry opening may have a separation means that assists in the removal of sharps from their original holders, as an alternative to the sharps being cut by a cutter before disposal. This may be in the form of a built-in notch 70.

When the sharps within the container 10 has reached a certain level, the coagulent 40 may be poured in to harden and encompass the sharps. This may be done at intervals or as often as required, and depends on the rate at which sharps are being inserted into the container. It is ideal to add the coagulent 40 when the sharps are at a level that is not so high that any contaminants or contagions are exposed for too long. When the container 10 is full it may be disposed in an appropriate location, such as a landfill.

The disposable container according to the invention herein and the preferred embodiment described above provides for total storage, protection and accountability with respect to used sharps from the time after their use to their final disposal. The system is easy to operate and of low cost. Accordingly, the disposable container described herein achieves the objects of this invention.

It will be appreciated that the preferred embodiment is illustrative only and that various changes may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention, which is limited only by the following claims.