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Missouri Medical Waste Requirements

A look at Missouri medical waste requirements.

Missouri medical waste is managed by the Missouri Department of Health and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Infectious waste is regulated as a non-hazardous solid waste under the Missouri Solid Waste Management Law, whereas the Department of Natural Resources is responsible for regulating all other aspects of infectious waste management, including permit requirements for treatment facilities and packaging, transportation and disposal of infectious waste.

The state defines infectious waste as “waste capable of producing an infectious disease because it contains pathogens of sufficient virulence and quantity so that exposure to the waste by a susceptible human host could result in an infectious disease.”

What qualifies waste as infectious is its contents or make up: stocks, blood and blood products, pathological wastes, contaminated wastes from surgery and autopsy, contaminated laboratory wastes, sharps, dialysis unit wastes, and discarded biological materials known to be infectious.

Infectious waste, just as anywhere else, must be treated prior to disposal. Generators must complete an infectious waste treatment certificate to accompany the waste that the hauler picks up and delivers to the landfill where the waste is taken for disposal.

Untreated medical waste must be placed in rigid or semi-rigid, leak-resistant containers clearly marked with the universal biohazard symbol, labeled with the words “Infectious Waste” or “Biohazard Waste” and sealed. Plastic bags and glass containers may not be used as primary containers for transportation of untreated infectious waste. If bags or glass containers are used, they must be placed within another container meeting the requirement of rigid or semi-rigid and leak-resistant.

All infectious waste that is transported for treatment and disposal must be tracked from the point of generation, through transport and treatment, and to the disposal facilities.

Missouri is also one of 26 states covered by the federal OSHA program in addition to its state and local municipalities. OSHA rules impact various aspects of medical/infectious waste, including management of sharps, and container requirements.

Medical waste disposal presents a number of compliance challenges.  Unlike many regulations that apply to healthcare, most regulations governing medical waste are defined at a state, rather than a federal level.

Learn how other states handle medical waste requirements.

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Missouri Medical Waste

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