Answer: Wash-up of medical paraphernalia

In the summer of 1988, with AIDS ravaging communities and the FDA only beginning to respond, over 70 syringes and vials of blood washed up on a Staten Island beach. This followed some 36 syringes appearing on Queens and Long Island beaches just days before. Beaches were closed across New York and New Jersey as a result. While the public initially blamed hospitals for inappropriate waste disposal, it turned out that the majority of the debris had come from the Fresh Kills Landfill and New York City’s sewage system. None of the medical waste was found to be contaminated with AIDS.