The term biohazard is given to all live or once living organic material that can cause morbidity or mortality in man. Everyone is exposed to bio-hazardous materials on a daily basis. Exposure may result from, but not limited to, touching, breathing, eating or a puncture through the skin. Following common sense hygiene practices in our every-day lives will prove effective against biohazard exposure.
Students, staff or faculty working with bio-hazardous materials need to maintain strict hygiene practices while following University, state and federal guidelines/regulations. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) classifies biohazards for research purposes. The CDC also provides recommendations for the safe handling of biohazards both in and out of research environments. Recommendations give way to strict law (regulation) when it comes to purchasing, shipping or possessing highly toxic biohazards (i.e. Ebola, Small Pox).
When a biohazard is set for disposal it is then referred to as infectious waste (IW). Ohio Department of Health (ODH) clearly defines infectious waste into nine categories. Specific guidance documents for the safe disposal of infectious waste are found on the ODH web site. The Ohio EPA regulates the handling, transportation, treatment and disposal of all infectious waste generated by complying to Ohio Administrative Codes (OAC Chapters 3745-27 thru 37).
The CDC classifies biohazards into four major levels. Bio Safety Level I is the least while Bio Safety Level IV poses the greatest hazard. The University of Akron conducts instructional and research laboratory activities only with Bio Safety Levels I and II infectious agents. All bio waste (infectious waste) generated from these activities and other departments on campus (Infirmary, Athletics, Chemistry, Polymer Science, …) add up to greater than fifty (50) pounds of waste per month classifying the University as a large generator of infectious waste. The EOHS department works directly with the laboratories generating infectious waste, ensuring it is rendered non infectious before it is received by a licensed infectious waste disposer. It is EOHS’ goal that all campus IW generators and biohazard laboratories comply to all State/Federal regulations and guidelines, ensuring a safe and knowledgeable university community.