By Jason Webber
Biohazardous waste is defined as materials that are biological agents or conditions which constitute a threat to humans and the environment. The disposal of biohazardous waste materials is governed by strict guidelines that have been put in place by governmental bodies for the protection of the public and the environment.
Businesses that deal with biohazardous waste must adhere to the guidelines put in place and enforced by the relevant governmental agencies in their state – most states have their own specific guidelines for the disposal of biohazardous material – or country and offenders, i.e. businesses that fail to adhere to these rigid guidelines, can expect to be prosecuted and may, if applicable, have their license to work with biohazardous materials revoked.
The Four Categories of Biohazardous Waste
There are four categories of biohazardous waste with each category requiring a different disposal method.
1. Biohazardous sharps
In addition to needles and syringes, biohazardous sharps also include scalpels and any other instrument that has been used to pierce the skin of an animal or human.
2. Liquid biohazardous waste
This includes large quantities of blood and body fluids from animals or humans, and contaminated culture materials.
3. Pathological waste
This biohazardous waste category includes all unfixed animal and human body parts, organs and tissues with the exception of teeth.
4. Solid biohazardous waste (non-sharps)
This encompasses any non-sharps item that’s been contaminated with animal or human diagnostic material, such as gloves, tissues and vials.
Adhering to Local Biohazard Waste Disposal Guidelines
In Texas it’s the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that puts in place the guidelines that all businesses which deal with biohazardous materials must adhere to.
These guidelines extend to all businesses that handle biohazardous waste which falls into the four categories outlined above, and in addition to universities, clinics and laboratories also includes tattoo parlours, assisted care facilities and nursing homes.
Most businesses that have a need to dispose of biohazardous waste work with a service provider licensed and certified by TCEQ to operate according to the strict guidelines that have been put in place for the benefit of all – clients, customers, employees, rubbish collectors, local citizens, the environment and anyone who could come into contact with biohazardous waste as a result of improper biohazard waste disposal techniques.
Why Is Proper Disposal of Biohazardous Waste So Important?
Without proper disposal there is a serious threat to the health, safety and wellbeing of the general public and anyone – clients, employees, etc. – who could come into contact with biohazardous waste.
The range of diseases that could be transmitted is far too long and worrisome to discuss in any detail and would also be determined by the nature of the material in question. In parts of the world with lax hazardous waste disposal guidelines, local communities living near hazardous waste disposal sites often suffer from a wide array of conditions and diseases as a result of these lax disposal methods.
In addition to the direct health risks that have become associated with improper disposal methods there would also be negative repercussions for business entities in Texas that fail to meet the strict guidelines that have been put in place by the TCEQ.
The TCEQ hands out hefty fines to business that fail to meet their strict guidelines, and in addition to the direct and heavy monetary expense in the form of fines, business organisations that fail in their obligations would also experience a loss of customer confidence and negative publicity as a result of their laxness.
The negative publicity that’s ensued in the past as a result of prosecution by the TCEQ has resulted in a tarnished business reputation, with the loss of customer confidence being been so significant in some cases that offending businesses have failed.
As a result, business organisations that have a need to dispose of biohazardous waste materials should have a service provider – the same service providers that provide death clean up services in San Antonio and other cities in Texas – dispose of their biohazardous waste to ensure they’re operating in compliance with the strict guidelines that have been put in place to protect the public and the environment from the very real threat that improper biohazardous disposal methods present.