Skip to Content

Biohazard Waste

County and state laws strictly regulate the packaging and disposal of biological waste generated by research and patient care. Please follow the following links for instructions on the disposal and packaging of Biohazardous and Sharps Waste.

Medical Waste is defined in the Medical Waste Management Act as biohazardous or sharps waste and waste which is generated or produced as a result of the:

  • Diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings/animals;
  • research pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings/animals;
  • production/testing of biologicals;
  • the accumulation of properly contained home-generated sharps waste; or
  • the removal of trauma scene wastes.

Biohazardous Waste is defined as:

  1. Laboratory waste, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
    • Human or animal specimen cultures from medical and pathological laboratories.
    • Cultures and stocks of infectious agents from research and industrial laboratories.
    • Wastes from the production of bacteria, viruses, spores, discarded live and attenuated vaccines used in human health care or research, discarded animal vaccines, including Brucellosis, Contagious Ecthyma, as identified by the department, and culture dishes and devices used to transfer, inoculate, and mix cultures.
  2. Human surgery specimens or tissues removed at surgery or autopsy, which are suspected by the attending physician and surgeon or dentist of being contaminated with infectious agents known to be contagious to humans.
  3. Animal parts, tissues, fluids, or carcasses suspected by the attending veterinarian of being contaminated with infectious agents known to be contagious to humans.
  4. Waste, which at the point of transport from the generator's site, at the point of disposal, or thereafter, contains recognizable fluid blood, fluid blood products, containers, or equipment containing blood that is fluid or blood from animals known to be infected with diseases which are highly communicable to humans.
  5. Waste containing discarded materials contaminated with excretion, exudate, or secretions from humans or animals who are required to be isolated by the infection control staff, the attending physician and surgeon, the attending veterinarian, or the local health officer, to protect others from highly communicable diseases or diseases of animals that are highly communicable to humans.

Biohazardous materials covered by this program may include:

  • Infectious organisms that can cause disease in humans or cause significant environmental or agricultural impact Human or primate tissues, fluids, cells, or cell cultures;
  • Animal tissues, fluids, cells, or cell cultures that have been exposed to infectious organisms; 
  • Recombinant DNA in vitro, in vivo, and in clinical trials;
  • Transgenic plants or animals;
  • Human gene transfer clinical trials Releases of recombinant DNA to the environment
  • Animals known to be reservoirs of zoonotic diseases; and
  • Select Agents.

Sharps waste is defined as:

  1. Any device having acute rigid corners, edges, or protuberances capable of cutting or piercing, including, but not limited to, all of the following:
    • Hypodermic needles, hypodermic needles with syringes, blades, needles with attached tubing, syringes contaminated with biohazardous waste, acupuncture needles, and root canal files.
    • Broken glass items, such as Pasteur pipettes and blood vials contaminated with biohazardous waste.
    • Any item capable of cutting or piercing that is contaminated with trauma scene waste.


  • Waste generated in food processing or biotechnology that does not contain an infectious agent.
  • Waste generated in biotechnology that does not contain human blood or blood products or animal blood or blood products suspected of being contaminated with infectious agents known to be communicable to humans.
  • Urine, feces, saliva, sputum, nasal secretions, sweat, tears, or vomitus, unless they contain fluid blood.
  • Waste which is not biohazardous, such as paper towels, paper products, articles containing non-fluid blood, and other medical solid waste products commonly found in the facilities of medical waste generators.
  • Hazardous waste, radioactive waste, or household waste.
  • Waste generated from normal and legal veterinarian, agricultural, and animal livestock management practices on a farm or ranch.