Medical Waste Disposal Regulations in Missouri
Medical waste, also known as infectious waste, has its own rules and regulations in the state of Missouri. Facilities producing infectious waste need to be aware of and adhere to these regulations to be sure they are in compliance and keeping everyone safe. Do you know the specific Missouri regulations as they relate to your facility?
Definition of Infectious Waste
“Infectious waste means waste capable of producing an infectious disease because it contains pathogens of sufficient virulence and quantity so that exposure to the waste by a susceptible human host could result in an infectious disease.” – From the Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Infectious waste includes but is not limited to:
- isolation wastes
- cultures and stocks of etiologic agents
- blood and blood products
- pathological wastes
- other contaminated wastes from surgery and autopsy
- contaminated laboratory wastes
- dialysis unit wastes
- discarded biological materials known or suspected to be infectious
Types of Wastes
Isolation waste is waste generated by patients who have communicable diseases that can be transmitted to others via the waste. Contaminated surgical, laboratory and dialysis waste is generated by these departments in the process of caring for someone with a communicable disease capable of being transmitted through the waste. Cultures and stocks of infectious agents are infectious waste because they typically contain a high concentration of pathogenic organisms. Blood and blood products fall into infectious waste as well. This includes serum, plasma, and other components that could be contaminated with a transmissible infectious agent. This does not however include bandages, disposable gowns, or other patient care waste that is lightly soiled with blood or body fluids that can easily dry. Pathology waste includes tissue, organs, body parts, and body fluids removed during surgery and autopsy; this also falls into the infectious waste category. Finally, sharps waste including hypodermic needles, syringes, scalpel blades, broken glass or any other sharp items that have come into contact with material considered infectious is also included.
Prior to transport, all infectious waste shall be placed in rigid or semi-rigid, leak-resistance containers clearly marked with the universal biohazard symbol prominently displayed and labeled Infectious Waste or Biohazard Waste and sealed. All containers shall be closed in such a manner as to completely contain all waste and the outside of the container shall be kept free of contamination. Containers meeting the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.1030 are acceptable.