The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are only two of a number of federal agencies who have mandated the necessity of using biohazard bags to dispose of biohazardous waste. The standards and practices of disposing of biohazardous waste and biohazard bags are also mandated by state legislation and even smaller, local governments. If the established standards and regulations of these organizations are not kept in compliance by you or your organization, you face the risk of paying enormous fines and penalties, or worse. Simply stated, there’s no excuse not to have a ready supply of biohazard bags to properly dispose of biohazardous and medical waste.
If you’re unsure of what biohazardous waste exactly is, allow us to briefly explain. Biohazards, or biological hazards, are biological substances and infectious agents that pose threats and potential risks to the health of humans, animals, and/or the environment. Examples of biohazardous materials include:
- Medical Waste
- Recombinant DNA
Basically, the encompassing definition of biological hazards includes anything that is harmful to the health of the biosphere. The risks can be either direct (through infection) or indirect (through damage to the environment). The only way to reduce this risk is to properly dispose of these materials through the use of biohazard bags and biohazard containers.
It’s important to note that there are biological materials you may not consider to be biohazardous, when in fact they are. Your organization may even have an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) manual that notes what materials your organization handles, however, sometimes these manuals are not properly updated. The reality is that there are biological materials you may not consider to be biohazardous that may be regulated by federal, state, and local regulations as biohazardous materials. The only way to ensure safe and secure disposal of all known and potential biohazardous waste is by using biohazard bags and biohazard containers. Even if you’re unsure if something, a chemical or whatever substance it may be, qualifies as biohazardous waste, the best practice is to use biohazard bag to dispose of it.
Biohazard bags are red in color. Biohazard bags must have either the label “Biohazardous Waste” or the international biohazard symbol and the word “Biohazard” on them. Biohazard bags must be disposable but biohazard bags must also be impervious to moisture. Biohazard bags must be strong enough to resist ripping, tearing, or bursting under normal conditions of usage and handling. Most organizations have established procedures on how to dispose of their biohazard bags and biohazardous waste. However, such waste is produced by more than large organizations alone.
Concerning the healthcare industry, biohazardous waste may be produced by entities both large and small. Biohazardous waste is created by any medical professional or any location – this includes hospitals, physicians, dentists, laboratories, blood banks, even veterinarians, small healthcare clinics. Even individual end users can create biohazardous waste at their homes, such as those who routinely give themselves injections or check their blood levels (via the use of blood glucose meters).
In all instances, circumstances, or locations that such waste is produced, it’s critical to dispose of such waste properly. Biohazardous waste must be disposed of at an EPA-approved waste recycling facility. One of the most convenient ways to do this is by using a mail back waste service.
At Medical Supplies and Equipment Company, there’s a large inventory of biohazard bags in a variety of sizes to accommodate your needs. For any questions or assistance, please call us at 1-877-706-4480.