Biological waste, also known as biohazardous waste, is any type of waste that poses a threat to public health. If you work in a healthcare facility or other location that produces biohazardous waste, here's what you need to know.

What is biohazardous waste?

Biohazardous waste is any waste that contains potentially harmful biological material. This can include blood, tissues, and other body fluids from humans or animals, as well as microorganisms and contagions like bacteria and viruses.

Why is biohazardous waste dangerous?

Biohazardous waste can pose a serious health risk to people who come into contact with it. The materials can contain harmful blood-borne pathogens or viruses that can cause infections. Additionally, blood and bodily fluids can also transmit diseases.

Who produces biohazardous waste?

Biohazardous waste is produced by a variety of sources, including hospitals, laboratories, research facilities, and veterinary clinics, and could include things like:

  • Surgical towels covered in blood
  • Sheets covered in bodily fluids
  • Discarded needles and syringes
  • Cultures and stocks of bacteria or viruses
  • Animal carcasses

How do you identify biohazardous waste?

Biohazardous waste is usually identified by a special label or symbol that shows it is dangerous. The labels will often have a picture of a biohazard symbol, as well as the words "biohazardous waste" or "warning: biohazard". Additionally, the labels and packaging are often red, red-orange, or fluorescent orange in color so they are easy for everyone to identify.

What are the dangers of mishandling biohazardous waste?

Mishandling biohazardous waste can put people at risk of coming into contact with hazardous materials. This could lead to serious health consequences, such as infections or diseases. Additionally, improper disposal of biohazardous waste can contaminate the environment and pose a risk to public health.

What are proper procedures for disposing of biohazardous waste?

There are a number of proper procedures for handling biohazardous waste, which include:

  • Proper container. By putting waste into proper containers, you will help to prevent the spread of disease and contamination.
  • Sealing. The container that biohazardous waste is in must be completely sealed to prevent leakage and contamination.
  • Label. All containers should be properly labeled with the biohazard symbol and the words "biohazardous waste".
  • Transporting the waste. All biohazardous waste should be transported in a way that prevents leaks and spillage.
  • Proper disposal. Biohazardous waste should be disposed of in an approved landfill or incinerator.

If you have any questions about biohazardous waste, please contact your local health department—such as Metro Detroit Medical Waste.