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What is medical waste?

While each state has its own regulatory rules, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and each state follow similar guidelines.

San Diego Medical Waste can help you learn the difference between healthcare-related waste, labeled as regulated medical, infectious or biomedical waste, reducing your risk of regulatory violations.

Regulated Medical Waste (RMW) consists of any material that may be contaminated by blood, body fluids or other potentially infectious material (OPIM), that when improperly disposed, can cause risk of spreading pathogens.

Medical waste:

Pathological and Anatomy Waste: tissue, organs, body parts and body fluids removed during surgery and autopsy.

Human blood and Blood Products: bulk human blood, blood products, serum, plasma and bulk body fluids, containing blood.

Cultures and Stocks of Infectious Agents (Microbiological Waste): specimens from medical and pathology laboratories, including culture dishes and devices used to transfer, inoculate and mix; also, discarded live and attenuated vaccines.

Contaminated Sharps: any blood or OPIM-contaminated sharp devices, such as hypodermic needles, syringes, scalpel blades, Pasteur pipettes, dental carpules (with blood in them), lancets and broken glass. Some states consider syringes with, or without, needles, including those which have not been used, as sharps waste.

Isolation Waste: waste from patients isolated in the hospital with highly communicable diseases such as Ebola, Marburg and others. This includes biological waste, materials contaminated with blood, excretion, exudates or secretions from humans.

Other Potentially Infectious Material (OPIM): semen, vaginal secretions, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, peritoneal fluid, amniotic fluid, saliva in dental procedures, bodily fluid contaminated with blood and human tissue or organs.

While OSHA regulates the handling and containment within each healthcare agency, state regulations and OSHA, define RMW as any waste contaminated with blood or OPIM.

For more information, contact San Diego Medical Waste: or 619-990-4604.

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