In general, infectious wastes are materials from humans or animals that are likely to contain infectious agents that are capable of transmitting disease. Also, it includes sharps used in the treatment, transfer, or inoculation of human and animal infectious agents. Other materials that may be considered infectious wastes would include:
- Cultures and stocks of infectious agents (human pathogens) and associated biological, without limitation, specimen cultures, cultures and stocks of infectious agents, wastes from production of biological and discarded live and attenuated vaccines;
- Laboratory wastes that were, or are likely to have been, in contact with infectious agents that may present a substantial threat to public health if improperly handled;
- Pathological wastes including, without limitation, human and animal tissues, organs, and body parts, and body fluids and excreta that are contaminated with or are likely to be contaminated with infectious agents, removed or obtained during surgery or autopsy or for diagnostic evaluation;
- Waste materials from the rooms of humans, or the enclosures of animals that have been isolated because of diagnosed communicable diseases that are likely to transmit infectious agents. Such waste materials from the rooms of humans do not include any wastes of patients who have been placed on blood and body fluid precautions under the Universal Precaution System established by the Centers for Disease Control in the Public Health Service of the Department of Health and Human Services, except to the extent specific wastes generated under the Universal Precaution System have been identified as infectious waste by other referenced rules;
- Human and animal blood specimens and blood products that are being disposed of, except that “blood product” does not include patient care waste such as bandages or disposable gowns that are lightly soiled to the extent that the generator of the wastes determines that they should be managed as infectious wastes. Bandages, gowns, or other waste materials generated in the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of humans or animals that, when held vertically, drip or exude blood or body fluids are said to be saturated and will be considered infectious waste;
- Contaminated carcasses, body parts, and bedding of animals that were intentionally exposed to infectious agents during research, production of biological, or testing of pharmaceuticals, and carcasses and bedding of animals otherwise infected that may present a substantial threat to public health if improperly handled;
- Sharp wastes used in the treatment or inoculation of human beings or animals or that have, or are likely to have, come in contact with infectious agents in medical, research, or industrial laboratories, including, without limitation, hypodermic needles and syringes, scalpel blades, and glass articles that have been broken. Such wastes are considered as “sharp infectious waste” or “sharps”; and
- Any other waste material generated in the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of humans or animals, in research pertaining thereto, or in the production or testing of biological that represent a substantial threat to public health when improperly managed.
Refer to the documents at the right for procedures to address these wastes.