Dozens of medical waste containers with patients’ names were discarded behind a Scarborough bar yesterday that is located near a methadone clinic.
“It is the first time I have ever seen anything like this. I worry about the health concerns because I don’t know what is in these containers and I’m certainly not going to touch them,” said Kevin Gassyt from the Tara Inn at Eglinton Ave. and Brimley Rd.
“Body fluids should be disposed of properly. If I was one of these patients I would have confidentiality concerns. If I was heading into a methadone clinic I wouldn’t want everyone to know.”
The First Step methadone clinic – just doors away from the Tara Inn – was closed yesterday afternoon and an official couldn’t be reached for comment.
The containers found are for urine collection, according to Starplex, the manufacturer.
“This is really bad. It sounds like a mistake has been made,” said Susan Finn with Starplex.
Methadone clinics witness their clients urinating into the containers to test if they are clean and can receive their medication.
“These containers should be put into a biohazard bag and picked up by a biohazard waste management company,” Finn said.
The City of Toronto prohibits medical waste from being thrown away or taken to a city dump.
Staff at the office of city Councillor Adrian Heaps were notified about the problem and they had the solid waste department remove the containers.
People get very upset when they find medical waste and there are rules around the disposal, said Dr. Howard Shapiro with Toronto Public Health.
“There are two issues here. The fact that patients’ names are on the containers is a huge privacy issue and then it depends what is in the containers. Urine is one of the few body fluids that doesn’t contain illness. People may be concerned about disease but diseases such as HIV or hepatitis are not transmitted through urine,” Shapiro said.
“People don’t like to find medical waste, but when they see it they don’t tend to dive in.”