Safety syringe
Safety Syringe legislation has been introduced in many nations as needlestick injuries
Needlestick injury
A needlestick injury is a percutaneous piercing wound typically set by a needle point, but possibly also by other sharp instruments or objects. Commonly encountered by people handling needles in the medical setting, such injuries are an occupational hazard in the medical community...

 and re-use prevention become the focus of governments and safety bodies.

Traditional glass syringes
A syringe is a simple pump consisting of a plunger that fits tightly in a tube. The plunger can be pulled and pushed along inside a cylindrical tube , allowing the syringe to take in and expel a liquid or gas through an orifice at the open end of the tube...

 can be re-used once disinfected
Sterilization (microbiology)
Sterilization is a term referring to any process that eliminates or kills all forms of microbial life, including transmissible agents present on a surface, contained in a fluid, in medication, or in a compound such as biological culture media...

. Plastic body syringes have become more popular in recent years because they are disposable once used, and some feel they have a tighter seal than their glass counterparts. Unfortunately, improper disposal methods and re-use are responsible for transferring blood borne diseases
Blood-borne disease
A blood-borne disease is one that can be spread through contamination by blood.The most common examples are HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and viral hemorrhagic fevers....

Of the 55 cases documented by the CDC
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are a United States federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services headquartered in Druid Hills, unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, in Greater Atlanta...

 of (non-sex work) occupational transmission of HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

, 90% were from contaminated needles
Hypodermic needle
A hypodermic needle is a hollow needle commonly used with a syringe to inject substances into the body or extract fluids from it...

 that pierced the skin. The direct cost of needlestick injuries was calculated in a recent study to be between $539 and $672. That includes only lab tests, treatment, service and 'other'; it does not take into account lost time and wages for employers and individuals.

Types of Safety Syringe

There are many types of safety syringes available on the market. The least expensive are also the least safe. Auto Disable (AD) syringes are designed as a single use syringe, an internal mechanism blocks the barrel once depressed so it cannot be depressed again. The other type of syringe with a re-use prevention feature is the breaking plunger syringe. An internal mechanism leaves cracks when the plunger is fully depressed to disable the syringe for further use. These syringes are only effectively disabled with a full depression of the plunger; users can avoid activating the re-use prevention feature and re-use the syringe.

The more effective safety syringes have reuse and needlestick prevention features. A sheath or hood is slid over the needle after the injection is completed with a Needlestick Prevention Syringe, which also has a re-use prevention feature (either an auto disable mechanism or breaking plunger). Retractable syringes use manual or spring-loaded retraction to withdraw the needle into the barrel of the syringe. Spring-loaded syringes can have a 'splatter' effect, where blood and fluids are sprayed off the cannula
A cannula or canula is a tube that can be inserted into the body, often for the delivery or removal of fluid or for the gathering of data...

 from the force of the retraction. Manual retraction syringes do not have the same effect, and are easier to depress because there is no resistance from a spring.

United States

  • Needlestick Safety and Prevention Act, effective date 2001

Two lawyers, Mike Weiss and Paul Danzinger were approached by an inventor in 1998 having trouble selling a safety syringe developed to protect health care workers from accidentally being infected by dirty needles. The problems were due to monopolistic
A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity...

 actions of a major industry needle maker and hospital group purchasing organizations. The case was settled before trial for $150 million dollars. This was portrayed by a movie in 2011, called Puncture
Puncture (film)
Puncture is an independent feature film starring Chris Evans, directed by Adam Kassen and Mark Kassen. It was chosen as one of the spotlight films for the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival, premiering on April 21, 2011 in New York City.-Cast:...



  • Health Canada Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines
  • Provincial Legislation:
    • British Columbia
    • Alberta
    • Manitoba
    • Saskatchewan
    • Ontario
    • Nova Scotia


  • No nationwide legislation is in place, but suggested practices or policies have been implemented in New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland.

External links

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