Biomedical waste laws became effective in 1991. These rules were developed in an attempt to protect the general public from environmental hazards. If you handle, or dispose of biomedical waste then you will need a biomedical waste registration. This provides you with set guidelines regarding the packaging, labelling, handling, storage, treatment and disposal of medical waste as well as telling you any necessary reports that you might need to file in order to track your production.
Biomedical waste is separated in to seven different categories.
Human blood, blood products and any body fluids that have been removed during surgery or autopsy
Waste covered with human blood, body fluids or any other blood products.
Human pathological waste including tissues, anatomical parts and any other parts that might have been discarded during surgery
Sharp needles used in human or animal care/research labs.
Culture dishes and infectious agents from DNA research
Discarded carcasses including bedding, body parts and any other waste materials, this is designed for research facilities only, and therefore only contains waste that is pathogenic and hazardous to either humans or the natural environment.
Cytotoxic drugs that are listed under chapter x50 of the Environmental Productions list
What Isn’t Classed As Biomedical waste?
You will find that human remains, faeces, seepage, sludge and bandages that are only spotted with blood are not classed as biomedical waste. If you generate under 50lbs of biomedical waste every month, then you do not require a biomedical waste management plan. You are also entitled to transport your waste to another generator, or facility without having to prepare a full manifest. If you are a generator which produces more than 50lbs every month, then you will need to manage all of the seven biomedical waste categories as well as having an off-site shipment area that will manage and pack it accordingly. You will also need to work around the U.S postal guidelines, paying the according fees that are associated with biomedical waste shipment.
Packaging, Shipping & Storage
Biomedical waste must be wrapped up and sealed in a red bag. This bag must be leak proof as well as being rip resistant. Sharps on the other hand must be placed in a rigid leak proof flask or a bottle to prevent the sharp from breaking through. If you are transporting bulk liquid, then you will need to transport them using an unbreakable flask. You also need to make sure that you label your bottle as soon as you have packaged it, with the according name, telephone and generation number of the recipient and the sender.
All biomedical waste must be stored and package correctly. Pathological waste and cultures that are being stored in any place must be refrigerated if the duration is longer than 24 hours. If you plan to transport medical waste, then you will need a license from the Department. This is not the case if you are indeed the generator, and you are transporting the waste to another medical facility. This amount must also be less than 50lbs.
Most biomedical waste is incinerated in order to kill the bacteria and any other pathogens. It is worth noting however that some medical waste, such as sewage or blood or bodily fluids may be flushed in to the sewer system; however the rules regarding this will largely depend on your chosen state and the individual laws that are in place regarding biomedical waste removal. It is also worth noting that some states have certain laws when it comes to getting rid of waste in set categories so it is important that you know this if you want to abide by the rules.