Published on July 10, 2023, Updated on July 11, 2023

X-ray equipment, film, and machines must be disposed of with particular caution. Oil in X-ray devices may be contaminated with lead, beryllium, and PCBs. For the safe disposal of X-ray machines and lead vests, we suggest contacting a commercial e-waste recycler or company. Before transferring X-ray devices to a vendor or recycler, the facility must immobilize them permanently.

Disposing of X-ray Equipment and Materials

Hazards from X-ray Equipment

These are the hazards present in X-ray equipment.

Radiation – To produce radiation, an X-ray machine must be connected to an electrical source to produce radiation. There is no residual radiation when an X-ray machine is unplugged.

Cobalt 60 – Cobalt 60 is a radioisotope utilized for medical applications and radiography. Only professionals can extract Cobalt 60 rods. Many of the machine’s components can then be recycled.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) – X-ray machines manufactured prior to July 1979 may contain polychlorinated biphenyls, in the transformer lubricant. Get in touch with a certified e-waste recycler if your machine contains PCBs for safe removal. Before transferring ownership, you are also responsible for testing the machine for PCBs.

Toxic metals – Older equipment may contain toxic metals. You must know what toxic metals are present in the machine and how it should be disposed of prior to decommissioning the machine. How you handle this matter could either save or cost you a substantial amount of cash.

Once you find out that the old machine contains a toxic waste metal regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you have 90 to 180 days to properly get rid of the toxic waste from the day it was shut down or deactivated. Failure to do so will result in potential fines. Hire an e-waste provider or consultant from the private sector to guide you through the process prior to labeling a machine as waste and deactivating it.

X-Ray tubes – To deactivate an X-ray machine, remove the head carefully without breaking the X-ray tube. The tube is under vacuum and could shatter causing injuries.

Ways To Dispose of an X-ray Equipment

Here are some ways to get rid of X-ray equipment.

  • Donate it to an organization that recycles functional devices.
  • Transfer ownership of a functional machine to an institution authorized to use X-ray equipment or a person.
  • Seek the help of your X-ray supplier, as they may know of businesses that buy used equipment.
  • Sell the parts of the scrap.
  • Seek the help of a certified e-waste recycling company or provider. Dispose of the whole equipment immediately if you found a certified e-recycling provider.

How Long Should X-ray Films Be Kept?

Mammography films and patient reports are required to be kept for a minimum of 5 to 10 years if the patient has not returned for a visit within that time frame.

X-ray films that are more than 50 years old may be made of nitrocellulose, a highly combustible material. Transporting or disposing of obsolete X-ray film is subject to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. You can either employ a private e-waste disposal company or contact the X-Ray Program for guidance on how to dispose of waste safely and legally.

Recycle and Dispose of Medical Equipment

It is unlawful to discard outdated X-ray films in the trash or bury them in a landfill. Apart from the confidential health record in X-ray films, these also contain silver emulsion, a highly reactive and combustible substance. Get rid of x-ray films properly to prevent harming the environment. Establish safety hazards or compromise patient privacy following the standards set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Recycling used X-ray films is the easiest way to get rid of them. Numerous businesses across the country burn X-rays to extract and recycle silver.

Look for a certified e-waste recycler on the internet who performs x-ray film recycling. Just make sure to go with a HIPAA-compliant business.

Learn more about 1 Green Planet, an R2-certified electronic recycling solutions company that offers services customized to specific industry specifications. Call us to schedule a pickup. see locations here