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Infectious Waste – An Overview

October 5, 2021

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Infectious Waste – An Overview

Infectious Waste – an overview. Infectious waste is mostly found in industries that are health-related, however there are a number of other industries that can have infectious waste. Some of these facilities include, but are not limited to tattoo parlors, autopsy locations, funeral homes, experimental and research labs, university cadaver facilities, and veterinarians.  Any location involved with waste that contains or could contain an organism that is capable of producing infection or any infectious diseases that can spread to humans is required to comply with local, state, and federal infectious disease guidelines.

Specially designed and labeled containers and packaging are required for each form of infectious waste so that they can be safely disposed of according to OSHA, local and state requirements.

Types of Infectious Waste: Infectious Waste – an overview

Another name for some types of biohazardous infectious waste is “red bag”, due to the color of the safety container or bag. The most common treatment for this form of infectious waste is through autoclaving or sterilization at a licensed and accredited medical waste disposal facility. These are typically: items saturated with blood such as bandages, dressings, sponges, and gauze; bulk body fluids and blood fluid, wound dressings that have been infected or are infectious, disposable suction canisters, tubing or IV bags that have or do contain body fluids or blood, human-derived albumin, attenuated or live vaccines that can be infectious to humans, laboratory waste such as biological agents, cultures, and any lab associated item that can be infectious to humans.

Another name for some types of biohazardous infectious wastes is “yellow bag”, due to the color of the container or packaging. This type of infectious waste is pathological or large tissue waste and requires incineration for disposal. These are typically, but not limited to: body parts deliberately or accidently removed during autopsy or surgery and are placed for disposal, animal waste used for research including carcasses, body parts, and blood from animals that may be purposely exposed to agents that may be infectious to humans. These include but are not limited to: histology or pathology lab sources human tissues, autopsy lab discarded human tissues, birthing unit placentas and cords, animal waste carcasses from research, and waste from trace chemotherapy. Yellow bags are also used for the disposal of pads, aprons, clinical wastes, dressings, soiled gloves, and swabs that have come into contact or may have been exposed to agents that are infectious to humans.

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