What is the Definition of Biohazardous Waste?

Defining biohazardous waste includes any waste products that have the risk of carrying human pathogens..Biohazardous waste is present all around us — in our doctor’s and dentist’s offices, in public restrooms, and in the wastebaskets of our schools and businesses

The Definition of Biohazardous Waste

According to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, biohazardous waste is “any waste containing infectious materials or potentially infectious substances such as blood. Of special concern are sharp wastes such as needles, blades, glass pipetts, and other wastes that can cause injury during handling.” 

Biohazard Symbol

Examples of Biohazardous Waste

  • Human blood and blood products. This includes items contaminated with blood that will release blood in a liquid or semi-liquid form when compressed.
  • Human body fluids. Examples include, but are not limited to, semen, vaginal secretions, amniotic fluid, saliva, and pleural fluid.
  • Pathological waste. Waste biopsy materials and any human tissues or body parts from autopsy, surgery, or other procedure.
  • Microbiological waste. Discarded live and attenuated viruses, discarded specimen cultures, and disposable culture dishes.
  • Sharps waste. Used needles or any sharp object (scalpels, glass slides, broken glass) that have been contaminated with potentially infectious materials.

Unlike hazardous chemical or radioactive waste, there is no one federal agency that clearly defines or regulates biohazardous waste. To prevent infection, it is recommended to apply a universal precautions approach to all blood and body fluids. This means handling all biological materials as if they contain an infectious disease.

If you are facing a blood spill, unattended death, or other trauma cleanup, know that you don’t have to face it alone. Aftermath has been an industry leader in bioremediation and trauma scene cleanup for almost 20 years and maintains the highest standards in cleaning, sanitation, and safety compliance. To learn more about Aftermath’s commitment to public safety, read this 28-point checklist.