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An Open Letter Supporting Safe Syringe Disposal

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An Open Letter to the Worcester Community: It\'s time to clean up Worcester! We, the undersigned, support taking used syringes off our streets and out of our parks and playgrounds with safe disposal boxes for syringes, as proposed by the Worcester Board of Health\'s Operation Yellow Box. Safe syringe disposal will protect the public health and safety of all Worcester residents. Currently, without safe syringe disposal measures, used syringes are found littering city parks, streets, and trash bags. They put children, pets, and adults who use city parks and sidewalks and trash disposal workers at risk of injury and infection from needlesticks. Operation Yellow Box will make our streets and parks safer. Safe syringe disposal is effective and in compliance with Massachusetts state law and federal Environmental Protection Agency recommendations! In 2006, Massachusetts legislation mandated the creation of sharps disposal programs throughout the state. Syringe disposal programs already exist in dozens of cities throughout Massachusetts, including Boston, Cambridge, Arlington, Haverhill, and Franklin and Barnstable counties. A similar program in Baltimore in 1998, called Operation Red Box, was shown to take HIV infected syringes off the streets. And in 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency issued recommendations for safe syringe disposal, including community drop-off programs. Worcester\'s Operation Yellow Box initiative would be in compliance with federal recommendations and Massachusetts state law. The City of Worcester has a responsibility to dispose of public waste safely: it already has programs for the disposal of hazardous household wastes and should similarly create programs for safe syringe disposal. We support Operation Yellow Box and the Worcester Board of Health in its effort to take used syringes off our streets! Sincerely,


Clean Up Worcester! is being organized by medical students at University of Massachusetts Medical School who support public health and safety in Worcester.
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