What is a biohazard? The term biohazard refers to any biological materials (microorganisms, plants, animals, or their byproducts) that pose a threat to the health of living organisms. Potential biohazards can be found anywhere – at your job, in your doctor’s office, in your children’s classrooms – and should be handled with extreme caution.
What are some biohazard examples?
- Human blood and blood products. This includes items that have been contaminated with blood and other body fluids or tissues that contain visible blood.
- Animal waste. Animal carcasses and body parts, or any bedding material used by animals that are known to be infected with pathogenic organisms.
- Human body fluids. Semen, cerebrospinal fluid, pleural fluid, vaginal secretions, pericardial fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva, and peritoneal fluid.
- Microbiological wastes. Common in laboratory settings, examples of microbiological wastes include specimen cultures, disposable culture dishes, discarded viruses, and devices used to transfer or mix cultures.
- Pathological waste. Unfixed human tissue (excluding skin), waste biopsy materials, and anatomical parts from medical procedures or autopsies.
- Sharps waste. Needles, glass slides and cover slips, scalpels, and IV tubing that has the needle attached.
Biohazard Safety Levels with Examples
There are 4 levels of biohazards, according to the Center for Disease Control:
- Biohazard Level 1: Agents that pose minimal threat to humans and the environment. Examples include E. coli, Bacillus subtilis, and Naegleria gruberi.
- Biohazard Level 2: Agents that can cause severe illness in humans and are transmitted through direct contact with infected material. Examples include HIV, hepatitis B, and salmonella.
- Biohazard Level 3: Pathogens that can become airborne and cause serious diseases. Examples include tuberculosis and Coxiella burnetii.
- Biohazard Level 4: Pathogens that pose a high risk of life-threatening disease for which there are no treatments. Examples include the Ebola virus and Lassa virus.
If you find yourself face to face with a potential biohazardous situation that is too big or too dangerous for you to handle on your own, call an expert.
Aftermath is a professional bioremediation company with almost 20 years experience in crime and trauma scene cleanup. Our technicians have handled blood cleanup and special sanitization for thousands of crime scenes and contaminated buildings. Contact us today for more information.