An investigation is underway after a pile of syringes was found on an East Oahu beach.
A man walking on the beach made the alarming find Thursday evening, and police were called to help remove the syringes.
The state Department of Health sent a Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response (HEER) team to look into it Friday. Workers combed the beach near Makai Research Pier looking for anything that may have been missed.
More syringes were found on the beach, less than 24 hours after the first troubling discovery was made.
While it’s still a mystery as to how the syringes ended up there, the department may be one step closer to finding out. Workers made another discovery Friday morning that could lead them in the right direction.
“There was a vial that we found. There were no label on it and it may not be associated with all the needles that we’ve been finding, but we’re going to take a look at it to see if it can give us a clue,” said Liz Galvez, HEER on-scene coordinator.
But according to the Dept. of Health, it reported Tuesday that a preliminary laboratory screen of the vial’s contents is a type of solvent called diethylene glycol. “It does not appear that the content of the vial is associated with the needles/syringes that were found at the same location,” the report said.
As for the syringes, we’re told they are meant to be used for insulin. They’re commonly sold at local drugstores.
Can these syringes be traced back to someone? What’s the proper way to dispose of them? “At this point in time, it’s hard for us to tell,” said Galvez.
Nick Wong from NCNS Environmental, a hazardous and medical waste facility, said syringes need to be sterilized before being thrown away.
“We come back and put it in our autoclave, which is a steam sterilizer. We cook it at 280 degrees for 55 minutes with 42 pounds of pressure per square inch,” he explained. Then the syringes are taken to the landfill.
For a small amount of syringes, Galvez said, “the proper way to dispose of cylinders or syringes is to put it in a plastic container or a metal can, put a little bleach in it, and make sure it’s sealed, and it can be disposed of in the regular waste.”