Do you know which body fluids constitute a higher risk for being biohazards? Are you familiar with what a biohazard actually is? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines biohazards as any biological material that poses a potential threat to the health and safety of humans, animals, or the environment.
Body fluids which constitute a higher risk of containing potential biohazards include:
- Human blood and blood products, including plasma, serum, and blood components.
- Semen and vaginal secretions
- Vomit or feces
The Risks of Biohazard Exposure
What makes exposure to these body fluids so risky? For one, blood and certain body fluids can be contaminated with bloodborne pathogens, infectious microorganisms that can cause disease in humans. Some common bloodborne pathogens found in human blood and body fluids include:
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “HIV affects specific cells of the immune system, called CD4 cells, or T cells. Over time, HIV can destroy so many of these cells that the body can’t fight off infections and disease.” Once this happens, HIV leads to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).
- Hepatitis B (HBV). HBV is an infection of the liver that causes 620,000 deaths worldwide each year. Contrary to popular belief, HBV is not the direct cause of liver damage. The presence of the virus triggers an immune response from the body that causes inflammation and can severely injure liver cells.
- Hepatitis C (HCV). Similar to hepatitis B, HCV is an infection of the liver that usually produces no symptoms during its early stages. Unlike HBV, which can be prevented through a vaccination, HCV does not currently have a vaccination.
To prevent biohazard exposure, it is recommended that you always wear personal protective equipment such as gloves, eye protection, and face masks when handling another person’s blood or body fluids. OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard instructs people to treat all bodily fluids as if they were biohazards. If you find yourself in a situation that requires the cleanup of a blood spill that is larger than a dinner plate, reach out to a bioremediation company for help.
Since 1996, Aftermath has been an industry leader in bioremediation and trauma cleanup. Our team of technicians has handled blood cleanup, communicable disease decontamination, and specialty sanitization for thousands of crime scenes, hoarding situations, and contaminated buildings. Call one of our professional service technicians today.