35-Pound Medical Waste Mail Packages Approved

The U.S. Postal Service finalized a change in its standards Sept. 25 that allows medical waste to be mailed in larger packages weighing as much as 35 pounds. USPS had proposed the change last April and received only two comments about it, both in favor.

The primary users of these packages are small medical offices, and the approved heavier packages are designated "Medical Professional Packaging" even though anyone can use them. USPS chose not to change the term but said it will state in the Domestic Mail Manual that individuals can use "Medical Professional Packaging."

One of the comments urged USPS to require that pre-primary receptacles comply with FDA's 510(k) approval rather than OSHA standards, but USPS did not do so. The Sept. 25 final rule says, "The Postal Service believes that requiring pre-primary receptacles to meet OSHA standards as identified in 29 CFR 1910.1030 is the best method of verifying governmental compliance for sharps and other regulated medical waste receptacles containing bloodborne pathogens. These pre-primary receptacles are then triple packaged in accordance with further parcel preparation requirements for the mailing of sharps mailpieces. Therefore, the final rule adopts the requirement that pre-primary receptacles meet OSHA compliance standards as published in the proposed rule."

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