Do I need to shred my x-rays in order to dispose of it properly?
This is a very common question, we hear it a lot, therefore we also answer this question very briefly at our common questions about x-ray film disposal page but we will try to answer it more in details in this article.
Please note that HIPAA requires facilities with outdated x-ray film to destroy all of the information in order to protect the patients from being exposed, however HIPAA does not really state how to do it, they actually leave the responsibility of the facility by stating that the facility has to decide which way they would like to dispose of the medical X-ray film, as long as the facility does “the right thing”.
What is doing the right thing when coming to x-ray film recycling?
As discussed previously, x-ray films contain sensitive patient information both on the x-ray charts and the paper jackets (envelopes) and are some cases there are some medical charts in addition to the x-ray sheets inside the paper jackets, therefore everything has to be recycled properly.
So shred it?
It is common sense that by shredding x-ray film sheets including the paper jackets and any other medical document will actually do the job of destroying the information in these medical records, but there are 2 problems.
- You need a very serious shredder in order to shred large quantities of x-rays in jackets.
- If you do that you will end up with a mixture of paper and PET film, what about the silver?