Biohazard, Biohazardous and Biomedical – What’s the difference?
October 25, 2020
Biohazard, Biohazardous and Biomedical
Biohazard, Biohazardous and Biomedical, What’s the difference? Local, state, and federal laws require specific handling, packaging, and disposal of the various types of waste that could be infectious to people. Protecting the community and the environment means that any facility that is involved in biohazardous and biomedical materials must comply with guidelines or face the consequences of fines and possibly even closing their business. The first step in compliance is in identifying the differences between biohazardous and biomedical.
- Biohazardous waste is any type of waste that may be contaminated with agents that are potentially infectious as well as other materials that are considered to be threats to the health of the public or the environment.
- Biomedical or medical waste is any type of waste that is generated in clinical settings or labs that isn’t contaminated with infectious agents but could appear hazardous to people outside of the setting.
- Biohazard is any waste that is a risk to the health of humans or environment that is generated from biological work, especially in the condition of dealing with microorganisms.
Examples of Biohazardous Waste
Biohazardous waste is divided into the following categories:
- Sharps: any item that could pierce the skin, including but not limited to: hypodermic needles, knives, blades, scalpels, broken glass, slides, syringes, lancets, pipettes, auto injectors, and infusion sets.
- Dry biohazardous waste: Any item that contains dried contaminants, including but not limited to: contaminated petri dishes, cultures, infectious agents, culture flasks, spores, viruses, wastes from bacteria, attenuated or live vaccines, Kim wipes, paper towels, bench or table paper, waste contaminated with excretion, exudates, or any secretions from either human or animals that were infectious.
- Liquid biohazardous waste: Any fluid that is considered to be infectious including but not limited to blood, either human or animal; blood elements from humans or animals; any body fluid or semi-liquid materials from humans or animals; anatomical specimens from humans or animals; body parts or animal carcasses that were exposed to biohazardous materials.
Biohazard, Biohazardous and Biomedical, What’s the difference?
Examples of Biomedical Waste
Biomedical waste is any item that is non-contaminated but have been used in a clinical or business environment; can include but is not limited to:
- Petri dishes, cultures, or culture flasks that are non-contaminated.
- Syringes (without needles) that are non-contaminated.
- Dry biohazard waste that has been decontaminated with approved methods such as autoclaving
- Dressing or bandages containing dried body fluids or blood.
- Trace chemotherapy waste, which includes IV tubing and empty containers.
- Body parts and animal carcasses.
- Any materials or items that are the results from non-biohazardous medical care.
- Any biomedical lab equipment that has been used and could appear hazardous.
Examples of Biohazard
Clinical and experimental labs often work with materials that can be considered as hazardous. These may include but are not limited to:
- Microbiological waste such as specimen cultures, discarded viruses, anything that came into contact with microorganisms, disposable culture dishes.
- Human blood and blood products that may have been contaminated with body fluids, blood, or tissues that contain blood.
- Human body fluids such as cerebrospinal fluid, semen, vaginal secretions, saliva, pleural fluid, amniotic fluid, and peritoneal fluid.
- Animal waste such as body parts and carcasses, and any bedding material that were used by animals that are confirmed to be infected with organisms that are pathogenic.
- Sharps waste including anything that may be contaminated with a pathogen that can pierce the skin such as needles, cover slips, glass slides, IV tubing with attached needle, scalpels, blades, broken glass.
- Pathological waste such as waste materials from biopsies, unfixed human tissue (not including skin). Anatomical parts from autopsies or medical procedures.
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