360 Huntington Avenue
170 Cullinane Hall
Boston, MA 02115-5000
NORTHEASTERN UNIVSERSITY PROCEDURE FOR DISPOSAL OF
MEDICAL OR BIOLOGICAL WASTE
FACT SHEET #14
The State of Massachusetts under the amended State Sanitary Code (105 CMR 480.000) defines infectious waste (biohazardous) in the following manner: Waste that because of its characteristics may cause, or significantly contribute to, an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible or incapacitating reversible illness; or pose a substantial present potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated, stored, transported, disposed of, or otherwise managed. The following six types of waste are identified and defined as medical or biological waste:
Discarded bulk human blood and blood products in free draining, liquid state; body fluids contaminated with visible blood; and materials saturated/dripping with blood. Blood Products shall not include; feminine hygiene products.
Human anatomical parts, organs, tissues and body fluids removed and discarded during surgery, autopsy, or other medical or diagnostic procedures; specimens of body fluids and their containers; and discarded material saturated with body fluids other than urine. Pathological waste shall not include: Teeth and contiguous structures of bone without visible tissue, nasal secretions, sweat, sputum, vomit, urine, or fecal materials that do not contain visible blood or involve confirmed diagnosis of infectious disease.
All discarded cultures and stocks of infectious agents and associated biologicals, including culture dishes and devices used to transfer, inoculate, and mix cultures, as well as discarded live and attenuated vaccines intended for human use, that are generated in:
(a) Laboratories involved in basic and applied research;
(b) Laboratories intended for educational instruction; or
(c) Clinical laboratories
Contaminated carcasses, body parts, body fluids, blood or bedding from animals known to be:
(a) Infected with agents of the following specific zoonotic diseases that are reportable to the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, Bureau of Animal Health pursuant to 105 CMR 300.140: African swine fever, Anthrax, Avian influenza – H5 and H7 strains and any highly pathogenic strain, Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), Brucellulosis, Chronic wasting disease of cervids, Foot and mouth disease, Glanders, Exotic Newcastle disease, Plague (Yersinia pestis), Q Fever (Coxiella burnetti), Scrapie, Tuberculosis, Tularemia (Francisella tularensis); or
(b) Infected with diseases designated by the State Epidemiologist and the State Public Health Veterinarian as presenting a risk to human health; or
(c) Inoculated with infectious agents for purposes including, but not limited to, the production of biologicals or pharmaceutical testing.
Discarded medical articles that may cause puncture or cuts, including, but not limited to, all needles, syringes, lancets, pen needles, pasteur pipettes, broken medical glassware/plasticware, scalpel blades, suture needles, dental wires, and disposable razors used in connection with a medical procedure.
Any discarded preparations, liquids, cultures, contaminated solutions made from microorganisms and their products including genetically altered living microorganisms and their products.
(B) All areas for on-site storage of containers of medical or biological waste shall be in an uncarpeted room or area with impervious, cleanable, non-absorbent flooring, used exclusively for waste storage.
(C) All on-site storage areas shall:
(D) Sharps shall be segregated from other wastes and aggregated immediately after use in red, fluorescent orange or orange-red leakproof, rigid, puncture-resistant, shatterproof containers that resist breaking under normal conditions of use and handling, and that are marked prominently with the universal biohazard warning symbol and the word “Biohazard” in a contrasting color. These containers are available from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) or can be purchased by the individual(s) producing the waste. Containers used for collection can not exceed 20" in height and 16" in width. This restriction is necessary because sharp containers are transferred intact into another box prior to disposal. Other types of waste must be contained and stored in containers provided by the Generators. Only authorized persons working in the lab shall have access or contact with such waste.
(E) Free draining blood and blood products and biotechnology by-product effluents shall be stored at all times in leakproof containers that are securely sealed.
(F) Compactors or grinders shall not be used to process medical or biological waste until it has been rendered noninfectious and safe for disposal.
(G) All medical or biological waste, except from home sharps users, must be treated on-site or transported off-site for treatment at a minimum once per calendar year.
The following methods of treatment and disposal are currently acceptable for generators of infectious waste at Northeastern University:
Because Northeastern University is connected to a municipal sewerage system, free draining blood and blood products except blood saturated materials may be disposed of into this system. This method is not presently restricted by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). If the above method is not practical or it should become prohibited by the MWRA, blood and blood products, except blood saturated materials, shall be placed in an 3 mil red/orange biohazard bag and transferred into an infectious/biohazard box provided by EHS. Once properly packaged and manifested they will be scheduled by EHS to be sent to an approved treatment facility. They may also be rendered noninfectious by gas, chemical or steam sterilization and placed in a disposal bag provided by EHS and discarded as regular rubbish. This method is preferred as it will limit disposal costs for the University.
Containers of sharps will be disposed of at an approved treatment and disposal facility. Scheduling or requests for disposal will by handled by EHS. Properly containerized sharps may be dropped-off in room 319A Mugar on Tuesday 10:30-11:30 AM and Thursday 2:30-3:30 PM. More detailed information for disposing of sharps can be obtained in the "Northeastern University Procedure for the Disposal of Sharps" (Fact Sheet #6) available from our office.
These wastes shall either be rendered noninfectious on site by steam sterilization, incineration, or in the case of liquids, chemical disinfection. Once these wastes have been treated as above they must be put into an additional labeled, 4 mil black disposal bag provided by EHS. If on-site treatment is not available, wastes should be placed in a second 3 mil red/orange biohazard bag and transferred into a infectious/biohazard box provided by OEHS. Once properly packaged, labeled and EHS notified, EHS can arrange transport to an approved treatment and disposal facility.
The N.U. Institutional Biosafety Committee has oversight over all recombinant DNA use on campus. These wastes shall not be removed from Northeastern University unless the viable organisms containing recombinant DNA molecules have been rendered noninfectious by a validated method. The following methods have been approved for this material:
These wastes must be doubled bagged in biohazard bags and placed in a box provided by our approved vender for incineration at an approved treatment and disposal facility. EHS will assist with scheduling of disposal activities and assure manifests are filled out correctly by generators.
If you have any questions or would like assistance with ideas for waste minimization, please contact the Office Environmental Health and Safety at x2769.