There are many important services done every day that most people probably don’t even know are happening, but would certainly notice if they weren’t. One big example is a biohazardous waste disposal service. Safely and properly disposing of biohazard waste is a critical task for many reasons. If not done right, it can pose a risk to the environment, public health, and even result in legal ramifications.
What is biohazard waste?
Biohazard waste is essentially any biological material that can potentially taint the person or object it comes into contact with. It’s also referred to as biohazard infectious waste or medical biohazard waste, as biohazardous materials are commonly dealt with in healthcare environments. Proper disposal of biohazard waste is a foundation of a safe medical or scientific environment. It can be anything that was exposed to contaminants and has a possibility of being infected. Anything dealing with blood, such as PPE, IV tubing, needles, transfusion bags, is automatically considered biohazard waste. Blood isn’t the only liquid that falls under this category. Basically, if it’s a human body fluid, it will be considered biohazardous waste.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has guidelines for four levels of biohazard waste, but it’s important to consider any object exposed as biohazard waste. No matter what the level is, or if it’s solid, liquid, or microbiological, if you’re in any contact at any time, you should be trained in handling and disposing of it. More biohazardous waste examples include animal waste from veterinarians, surgical gloves/masks, laboratory equipment, even empty vaccine vials. Mercury and silver, chemicals that are used commonly in doctor’s offices, are also considered biohazardous waste because they can cause serious harm to animals and humans. Pharmaceutical materials can also fall under this category, such as drug kits and expired medications.
Biohazard Waste Disposal Services
For good reason, biohazard waste management is a very controlled and serious process. It is federally regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Standards and practices can be broken down even further state by state.
So how is biohazard waste disposed of? And how does one go about disposing of biohazardous waste? Hopefully, if you’re a medical or scientific professional, you are already well versed in the biohazard disposal process. If not, there are plenty of great resources and services available for biohazard waste management. To make your life easier, (and follow regulations – most states require a licensed biohazardous waste hauler) you should not be disposing of these materials yourself. The last thing professions handling large quantities of potentially contaminated waste need is the added stress of the dangerous materials harming someone due to one disposal mistake.
Professionals from these biohazard disposal services will pick up, decontaminate, and dispose of the materials for you. They will first (if you haven’t already) separate the various types and place them in suitable containers for storage and transportation. These containers must be puncture-resistant and labeled with a biohazard symbol or appropriately color code.
You’re probably curious where to dispose biohazard waste if these materials are harmful to the environment. The solution is more a how than a where – according to the EPA, 90% of biohazard waste is incinerated. The other 10% is either disinfected chemically, or goes through a process called steam sterilization, which destroys microbial life.
To summarize, handling biohazardous waste is no joke. There’s a reason many jobs and professions require consistent training on it. Mistakes in disposal could result in legal fines, environment contamination, illness, and even death. If you hire a professional waste disposal service, always make sure they are reputable and experienced. Certainly, letting disposal companies take care of these biohazardous materials will lift a lot of stress off your life.