A new public Web site from the Food and Drug Administration explains proper consumer disposal of used needles and other medical "sharps" products such as lancets, finger sticks, tubing systems and home hemodialysis connection needles.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates more than 3 billion needles and other sharps are used in U.S. homes each year.

Among recommendations on the Web site, the FDA urges use of a sharps disposal container, and if that's not available, a heavy-duty plastic household container with a strong lid, such as a laundry detergent jug. The site has a list of FDA-approved sharps disposal containers.

Consumers also should call their local public works or public health departments to inquire about sharps disposal programs that may be available.


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