What is Biohazardous Waste?
Biohazardous waste, also called, “infectious waste”, or “biomedical waste”, is any waste that contains infectious materials or potentially infectious substances, like blood. Sharp biohazards, like needles, blades, glass pipettes, or other contaminated items that can cause injury when being handled are of special concern.
There are four general types of biohazardous waste:
- Solid biohazardous waste
- Liquid biohazardous waste
- Biohazardous sharps
- Pathological Waste.
In order to minimize the risks of occupational exposure and environmental release, each of these forms must be identified, segregated, decontaminated and disposed of in the appropriate manner.
Some more specific forms of biohazardous waste are:
- Human blood and blood products:
All human blood, blood products (such as serum, plasma, and other blood components) in liquid or semi-liquid form.
Items that are contaminated with blood that may be realeased during handling, whether caked with dried blood or containing blood that would be released upon compression, in liquid or semi-liquid form.
Other body tissue or fluids that are contaminated with visible blood.
- Human Body Fluids:
Human body fluids in a liquid or semi-liquid state, including: vaginal secretions, semen, cerebral spinal fluid, pericardial fluid, pleural fluid, synovial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, and saliva from dental procedures.
Also, any other human body fluids that are visibly contaminated with blood, and all other body fluids in a situation where it is impossible or difficult to differentiate between body fluids.
- Microbiological Wastes:
Laboratory wastes containing/contaminated with concentrated forms of infectious agents. This sort of waste includes discarded stocks of etiologic agents, specimen cultures, discarded live and attenuated viruses, blood or body fluids known to contain infectious pathogens, wastes from the production of biologicals and serums, disposable culture dishes, and devices used to transfer, inoculate and mix cultures.
- Pathological waste:
All human tissues, organs, and body parts, including:
waste biopsy materials, tissues, anatomical parts from surgery, procedures, or autopsy. Any unfixed human tissue, except skin.
- Animal waste:
All animal carcasses, body parts, and any bedding material from animals that are known to be infected with, or have been inoculated with, human pathogenic microorganisms that are infectious to humans.
6 Sharps Waste:
1. Needles (whether attached to a syringe or covered by a plastic guard, or not.);
2. IV tubing with the needle attached;
3. Glass Pasteur pipettes;
4. Disposable glass pipettes;
5. Glass slides and cover slips;
6.Lancets, scalpels, razor blades; and
7. Broken glass and splintered plastic, when contaminated with blood or other potentially infectious material.
Broken lab glass and plastic such as beakers and bottles are NOT considered sharps for disposal purposes when they are NOT contaminated.
Chemical sharps like syringes contaminated with chemotherapy agents or broken mercury thermometers need to be placed in their own appropriate container, not with the rest of the sharps.
Biohazardous waste should not be left untreated or unsecured in any form in areas that are accessible to the public (i.e., hallways). Only lab personnel should remove treated biohazardous waste from its area of origin and transport it to waste holding areas for final disposal.
For more information on the appropriate procedure to dispose of bio-hazardous waste, check our blog: http://blog.medwastemngmt.com/