Biological Programs

Biohazardous Unwanted Materials Management

Use of proper sterilizing and disinfecting methods should be the primary treatment techniques for deactivating and disposal of biohazardous material as regular solid waste. If you suspect that a proposed activity might produce biohazardous materials that are difficult or expensive to dispose, or have multiple hazards (biohazard, chemical, radioactive) contact EHS for guidance before conducting your activity.


Biohazardous Unwanted Materials Description

Biohazardous Unwanted Material and products that have not been rendered innocuous or determined non-infectious by the Principal Investigator or their authorized representative should be considered infectious. These include:

  • Blood and blood products - human blood, blood products (serum, plasma and other blood components) and body fluids.
  • Sharps - needles, syringes, scalpels and glass vials (see Appendix J)
  • Microbiologicals – including all cultures and stocks of biohazardous material (see Section 1.2).
  • Pathologicals - including tissues, organs, body parts, all transgenic animal parts and carcasses discarded from surgical, obstetrical, autopsy and laboratory research procedures.
  • Broken glass that can be properly decontaminated should not be placed in the Biohazardous Unwanted Materials system (see Appendix J).


Biohazardous Unwanted Materials Disposal Policies

Biohazardous Unwanted Materials that have not been sterilized must be disposed by EHS or a biohazardous waste disposal vendor approved by EHS. Biohazardous Unwanted Materials must be properly labeled, packaged, and stored prior to transport.

Packaging and Labels -- Packaging and labels will be provided by EHS or their authorized biohazard waste disposal vendor, with the exception of special packaging for articles that could potentially puncture bags or boxes.

  • Articles that could puncture bags or boxes ("sharps") must be placed in puncture-proof containers available from University Hospital Materials Management (882-2805), or from other commercial sources. The full sharps container must then be placed into the EHS or authorized biohazardous waste vendor’s box or plastic tote provided. Refer to Appendix J for specific information.
  • All biohazardous materials including diagnostic specimens and biological products must be packaged to prevent leakage of contents during handling and transportation. Leaking containers or improperly packaged sharps will not be accepted by EHS or authorized biohazardous waste vendors.
  • Label all containers of biohazardous waste with the date when accumulation begins. There is a yellow Hazardous Unwanted Materials label (EHS HML 11/12) available from EHS for this information.

Dispose of biohazardous waste in a timely fashion: According to MU policy, all containers of biohazardous material are to be turned over to EHS within six (6) months of the accumulation start date. All material that could become putrid must be refrigerated until picked up by EHS or authorized biohazardous waste vendors. Avoid large accumulations of biohazardous waste.

Segregate biohazardous material from unwanted chemical and radioactive materials: Multiple hazard (biohazard, chemical, radioactive) segregation must take all potential hazard classifications into account. Contact EHS for assistance.

Use compatible containers and closures: Containers for biohazardous material must be in good condition, not react with other materials present and supplied by EHS or authorized biohazardous waste vendors.

Good housekeeping: Good housekeeping is the most important action to improve safety and minimize waste. Clean up spills and releases promptly and thoroughly using approved methods.

Collection: Collection from individual laboratories is arranged by contacting EHS via submission of a Waste Pickup Request. Collection points for biohazards do not require a request and are available at several locations on campus that may be more convenient for some laboratories. Contact EHS for the nearest collection point location and to determine availability. If a collection point is not available, you will need to submit a request through Environmental Health & Safety Assistant.  Tutorials on EHS Assist are available here.

Training: Training on handling and disposal of biohazardous unwanted materials is provided free of charge by EHS to MU Faculty and Staff. To schedule training, please contact EHS (882-7018).