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FAQ - Waste Treatment & Disposal - 2014
 FAQ -  Waste Treatment & Disposal  -  2014



I was in a dental office and they are using an empty wipe canister to place bio hazard materials such as teeth, bloody gauze and cotton rolls in.  Then they place the canister in a bio hazard bag when the canister is full.  They are not placing sharps in the canister.  The company that picks up the bio hazard bags said it  is acceptable.  Would it be acceptable  if they put a bio hazard sticker on the canister and continued to use the canister?  OR does the container for bio hazard waste have to be spill proof (canister is not) regardless if they put a biohazard sticker on it?  

In general, the 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry states as follows:

Regulated medical waste requires careful containment for

treatment or disposal. A single leak-resistant biohazard bag is

usually adequate for containment of nonsharp regulated medical

waste, provided the bag is sturdy and the waste can be

discarded without contaminating the bag’s exterior. Exterior

contamination or puncturing of the bag requires placement in

a second biohazard bag. All bags should be securely closed for

disposal. Puncture-resistant containers with a biohazard label,

located at the point of use (i.e., sharps containers), are used as

containment for scalpel blades, needles, syringes, and unused

sterile sharps (13). 1


2. Management of Regulated Medical Waste in

Dental Health-Care Facilities

a. Use a color-coded or labeled container that

prevents leakage (e.g., biohazard bag) to contain

nonsharp regulated medical waste (IC)


b. Place sharp items (e.g., needles, scalpel

blades, orthodontic bands, broken metal

instruments, and burs) in an appropriate

sharps container (e.g., puncture resistant,

color-coded, and leakproof ). Close container

immediately before removal or replacement

to prevent spillage or protrusion of contents

during handling, storage, transport, or shipping

(IC) (2,8,13,113,115).

c. Pour blood, suctioned fluids or other liquid

waste carefully into a drain connected to a

sanitary sewer system, if local sewage discharge

requirements are met and the state

has declared this an acceptable method of

disposal. Wear appropriate PPE while performing

this task (IC) (7,9,13). 2

OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard states as follows:


Labels and Signs --




Warning labels shall be affixed to containers of regulated waste, refrigerators and freezers containing blood or other potentially infectious material; and other containers used to store, transport or ship blood or other potentially infectious materials, except as provided in paragraph (g)(1)(i)(E), (F) and (G).


Labels required by this section shall include the following legend:

Sample 2 Biohazard Symbol

[For image, please refer to the actual standard itself]


These labels shall be fluorescent orange or orange-red or predominantly so, with lettering and symbols in a contrasting color.


Labels shall be affixed as close as feasible to the container by string, wire, adhesive, or other method that prevents their loss or unintentional removal.


Red bags or red containers may be substituted for labels.


Containers of blood, blood components, or blood products that are labeled as to their contents and have been released for transfusion or other clinical use are exempted from the labeling requirements of paragraph (g).


Individual containers of blood or other potentially infectious materials that are placed in a labeled container during storage, transport, shipment or disposal are exempted from the labeling requirement.


Labels required for contaminated equipment shall be in accordance with this paragraph and shall also state which portions of the equipment remain contaminated.


Regulated waste that has been decontaminated need not be labeled or color-coded.




The employer shall post signs at the entrance to work areas specified in paragraph (e), HIV and HBV Research Laboratory and Production Facilities, which shall bear the following legend:

[For image, please refer to the actual standard itself]

Sample 2 Biohazard Symbol

(Name of the Infectious Agent)
(Special requirements for entering the area)
(Name, telephone number of the laboratory director or other responsible person.)


These signs shall be fluorescent orange-red or predominantly so, with lettering and symbols in a contrasting color. 2

Ask OSAP is also attaching the section on the Use of Signs and Labels from Infection Control and Management of Hazardous Materials for the Dental Team for your review. 3

Additionally, Ask OSAP would like to note that the requirements for the handling of regulated medical waste can vary by state. There are separate federal and state regulations for medical waste. Ask OSAP is not familiar with the individual state requirements of each state, so it is recommended that you also consult with the appropriate state agency (or agencies) with jurisdiction. State agencies with jurisdiction can include state health departments, state departments of environmental protection, state dental boards and state OSHA programs.


1)     Kohn WG, Collins AS, Cleveland JL, Harte JA, Eklund KJ, Malvitz DM, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guidelines for infection control in dental health-care settings—2003. MMWR Recomm Rep 2003;52(RR-17):1-61.    Accessed on December 29, 2014.

2)     US Department of Labor – Occupational Safety & Health Administration. 1910.1030 Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.   Accessed on December 29, 2014.

3)     Miller CH. Infection Control and Management of Hazardous Materials for the Dental Team, 5th edition. Elsevier/Mosby Publishers. Page 79.





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