What Is Biohazardous Medical Waste?
Biohazardous waste, also called infectious waste or biomedical waste, is any waste containing infectious materials or potentially infectious substances such as blood. Of special concern are sharp wastes such as needles, blades, glass pipettes, and other wastes that can cause injury during handling.
Types of Biohazard Waste
Biohazard waste includes the following materials:
1) 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 contaminated with blood that, if compressed, would release blood in a liquid or semi-liquid form, or items caked with dried blood capable of being released during handling. Other body fluids or tissues containing visible blood.
2) Human Body Fluids: Human body fluids in a liquid or semi-liquid state, including: semen, vaginal secretions, cerebral spinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, and saliva from dental procedures. Also includes any other human body fluids visibly contaminated with blood, and all body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids.
3) Microbiological Wastes: Laboratory wastes containing or contaminated with concentrated forms of infectious agents. Such waste includes discarded specimen cultures, stocks of etiologic agents, 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 (BSL-1 through BSL-4 etiologic agents as designated by NIH Guidelines/BSC).
4) Pathological waste: All human tissues, organs, and body parts, including waste biopsy materials, tissues, and anatomical parts from surgery, procedures, or autopsy. Any unfixed human tissue, except skin.
5) Animal waste: All animal carcasses, body parts, and any bedding material from animals known to be infected with, or that have been inoculated with human pathogenic microorganisms infectious to humans.
6) Sharps waste: As defined in Section 9, Sharps Waste.The wastes above must be treated, packaged, labeled, and transported as described in the following sections. Sharps waste procedures are described in Section 9, Sharps Waste.
Responsibilities of Biohazardous Waste Generators
1. Ensuring that the waste is either correctly treated and disposed of within the lab, or is properly packaged and transported to the appropriate treatment facility within the Center;
2. Packaging the waste as directed to prevent exposure or injury (needle sticks, cuts) to anyone handling the waste.
Regulated Biohazard Waste Minimization
Although biohazard waste bags are often conveniently placed throughout the lab, it is important to remember that these bags are for biohazard and contaminated wastes only, and are not to be used for regular trash. Disposal of non-biohazard waste in a biohazard waste container adds significant costs to waste management.