The House completed congressional action on legislation to control the kind of infectious medical waste that fouled Atlantic Coast beaches this summer.
The bill, sent to the White House by a voice vote Wednesday, would require the Environmental Protection Agency to develop a system for tracking such waste from its creation in medical facilities to its final disposal.Initially, the system would apply only to 10 states: Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and the Great Lakes states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The program, however, could become national in scope because any other state could decide to have its medical waste covered by the plan and gain authority to act against incoming waste not meeting the tracking requirements.
The Senate approved the measure last Friday.
Congress acted after waves of used syringes, vials of AIDS-infected blood and other hospital waste that washed up on beaches along the East Coast, Lake Michigan and Lake Erie during the summer.