Infectious Medical Waste Minimization Information
The West Virginia Infectious Medical Waste program places a great deal of emphasis on proper classification of Infectious Medical Waste and the minimization of over-classification of solid waste as infectious.
There are many reasons that health care facilities need to reduce the amount of Infectious Medical Waste they generate:
- When large volumes of plastics, common in medical waste, are incinerated there is increased potential for atmospheric release of carcinogenic agents if incinerators are not operated properly.
- Increased medical waste generation also increases the potential for costly accidents and spills due to the increased numbers of vehicles required to haul the waste.
- Another reason is to keep disposal costs as low as possible.
The following are items commonly found is biohazard collection containers.
These items are solid waste over-classified as Infectious Medical Waste.
- Medicine vials (excluding vaccine vials or ampoules)
- I.V. bags and tubing with no visible blood
- Paper towels and exam table paper
- Procedure setup trays
- 24 hour urine tests and specimen containers with no visible blood
- Foley bags and associated tubing
- Chucks and diapers soiled with urine or feces
- Bedpans and urinals
- Gauze and cotton balls with little blood
- Isolation wastes (MRSA and other contact isolations) from patients who do not have a disease cause by a viral agent classified by the CDC as Class 4 Viral Agents.
Class 4 Viral Agents include:
- Alastrim, Smallpox, Monkey pox and Whitepox
- Hemorrhagic fever agents, including Crimean hemorrhagic fever (Congo), Junin, and Machupo viruses
- Herpesvirus simiae (Monkey B virus)
- Tick-borne encephalitis, Kyasanur forest disease, Omsk hemorrhagic fever, and Central European encephalitis viruses
- Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus
- Yellow fever virus