Medical waste is a subset of wastes generated at health care facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, as well as medical research facilities and laboratories. Here’s what you need to know about laboratory medical waste.
Hospital, medical reference, and research laboratories all produce hazardous laboratory waste. Red Bags covers many industries that produce regulated medical waste and hazardous waste, and while some may seem surprising (like barbershops), facilities like laboratories are anything but.
Of course, labs are not just the offices you visit to have a blood draw or a throat culture; labs go beyond medical practices. There are hospital labs, medical research and reference labs, and educational research labs.
While labs come in many forms, all will produce some kind of medical or biohazardous waste. What kinds of waste does this include?
Regulated Medical Waste
Regulated medical waste (RMW) is the byproduct of medical waste that may be contaminated by blood, body fluids, or other potentially infectious materials. This waste is also known as biohazardous waste or infectious medical waste. This includes liquid or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) and pathological and microbiological wastes containing blood or OPIM.
Sharps waste is medical waste that is composed of used sharps and is classified as biohazardous. Sharps is actually the medical term for a sharp-pointed object that can cut or puncture the skin, and this includes needles, syringes, lancets, auto-injectors, and connection needles. In a research lab setting, sharps waste can also include pipettes, glass slides, and contaminated glass.
According to the EPA, hazardous waste is any waste that is ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or specifically listed by the EPA as a toxic waste. SDS are a good source of information for determining whether a particular material meets any of these criteria. Hazardous wastes may include byproducts and wastes from chemical reactions or unwanted commercial products and chemicals. Examples can include off-specification chemicals, spent glass cleaning ware, flammable pollutants, and pollutants which result in the presence of toxic gases, vapors, or fumes.
Tips for Best Practices in Hazardous Laboratory Waste Removal
Laboratories are generally responsible for disposal of their own non-hazardous wastes, but Red Bags is available to assist laboratories with proper disposal methods for any and all hazardous waste. Our online OSHA Compliance Program also offers access to millions of MSDS/SDSs so that laboratories can make informed decisions about what determines waste to be hazardous.
Contact Red Bags today to discuss our routine services for laboratory waste removal.
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