Medical waste, which may also be considered by others as biohazardous waste, is regarded as a subset of residues that are produced in blood banks, health clinics, physicians’ offices, veterinary clinics, laboratories, and medical research facilities. In general, this type of waste is healthcare waste that is contaminated by body fluids, blood, or other materials that can be infectious. This type of waste is often regulated by the environmental and health departments of the state. There are also other federal agencies that have their regulations regarding medical waste. Some of these agencies are the CDC or Centers for Disease Control, FDA or US Food and Drug Administration, and OSHA or Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Responsibilities of Those Who Created the Waste Before Applying Biohazardous Waste Disposal Methods
Along with these guidelines, biohazardous waste producers have their duties. First is they make sure that the waste is appropriately treated and disposed right within the lab. It has to be packed and transported in the right way towards the collection point. It’s also important to package the waste as stated in the guidelines to avoid exposure or injury from needles and syringes to the persons handling the waste material. It’s also necessary to give the waste the right label and also the room number of the lab where the waste was produced.
How to Minimize Waste before Disposal
There are several types of biohazardous waste disposal methods. However, it’s important for every waste producer to minimize the amount of waste that will lead to treatment and disposal. Usually, there are biohazard waste bags that are distributed around the lab. These bags are only intended for those that have to undergo biohazardous waste disposal methods. The bags have to be labeled as such. The following are some of the items that may not be included as biohazardous waste: gloves that are used to handle blood or bodily fluids, any material used for managing blood indirectly, paper towels or bench paper on which containers with blood were placed even if the containers did not spill onto them.
Treatment and Disposal of Biohazardous Waste
Before 1997, 90% of medical wastes that have the potential to be infectious were incinerated until the EPA implemented regulations due to its detrimental effects to health. There are many safer alternatives to burning medical wastes: steam sterilization such as autoclaving, electropyrolysis, thermal treatment like microwave technologies, and chemical mechanical systems, among all others.
These alternative biohazardous waste disposal methods are designed to turn the medical waste into non-infectious waste before it is disposed of as solid waste in various incinerators and landfills. There are also several states that require certification, regulated, and licensed medical waste treatment technologies.
It’s essential to consider several issues before you choose the right disposal technology to use for the biohazardous waste. Some of these issues are types of quantities of medical waste, occupational health and safety, environmental impact, training and operation requirements, and country-specific regulatory requirements.