Life's a Beach as Needle Dumping Dentist Avoids Jail Time

By Brian Thompson
|  Friday, Apr 30, 2010  |  Updated 4:18 PM EDT
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A Pennsylvania dentist who admitted to dumping more than a hundred needles along with other medical waste near the Jersey Shore will serve four years probation, and pay a $100,000 fine.

Thomas McFarland, 61, of Wynnewood, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in March to the act of dumping near his shore home.

It was on August 22 of 2008 that McFarland took a bag of waste from his practice out on a small motor boat into the Townsend Inlet at the north end of Avalon, N.J.

"Beginning the next day, dental waste was found washed up along a stretch of beach at the north end of Avalon," said a statement from the New Jersey Attorney General's office.

260 dental needles were eventually found on the Avalon beach, along with 180 cotton swabs, a number of blue and white capsules used to hold dental filling material, and other waste.

It was the first such deliberate dumping in 20 years, but immediately brought back memories and fears of the medical waste from New York City that was found  on Jersey beaches during the 70's and 80's.

But investigators were able to trace some of the waste, even as McFarland went to the Avalon Police Department to confess to his crime.

He eventually pleaded guilty to a fourth-degree charge of unlawful discharge of water pollutants.

Follow Brian Thompson on Twitter @brian4NY

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