Pathological Waste

Medical Waste Disposal Services

Pathological waste is a type of buihazardous medical waste
often produced by doctor offices, veterinarians, hospitals,
nursing homes, pharmacies and other medical facilities.

Doctor offices, veterinarians, hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies and other medical facilities each produce varied types and amounts of medical waste. There are several different categories of medical waste and each type may require different disposal techniques. Pathological waste is one example of medical waste and just like other types of biohazardous or pharmaceutical waste it requires a specific disposal process. If your facility produces this type of waste, it must be segregated, packaged, and labeled properly.  Improper handling and disposal will put your organization at risk for significant fines and/or legal consequences. MWA offers licensed and inspected waste disposal services in your area.  Whether it is pathological regulated medical waste, pharmaceutical, trace chemo or trace chemo, MWA can transport and dispose of your waste properly and compliantly.  For pathological waste destruction, MWA utilizes a medical approved incinerator.  These wastes must be deemed harmless and unrecognizable and incinerating is the appropriate method.

What is the definition of Pathological Waste?

Pathological waste includes any detached human or animal organs, tissues, and body parts including body parts used in research but does not include teeth.  Waste materials from a biopsy procedure are an example of pathological biohazardous waste. An additional example is anatomical parts that are removed during autopsies or surgeries.  Pathological waste is a category of biohazardous waste.

Medical waste generators must strictly adhere to guidelines mandated by federal and state governments for the proper segregation, storage, transportation, and disposal of pathological waste.

Pathological waste is generated by any number of facilities where tissue or blood specimens may be collected for diagnosis or treatment. These facilities include: surgical centers, hospitals, plastic/cosmetic surgeons, veterinary clinics, and urgent care walk-in clinics.

Pathological Waste Collection

Pathological waste should be separated from the rest of the “red-bag” regulated medical waste. This type of waste has some qualities that may dictate different handling and storage procedures. Some things to consider:

  • Anatomical waste such as organs, can contain or be filled with bodily fluids. Special measures, such as double-bagging, storing in appropriate plastic containers, or use of absorbents, may need to be taken to prevent leakage.
  • Some pathological waste may be hazardous if it was in contact with chemotherapy drugs or other drugs and/or chemicals that fall under RCRA hazardous lists. It may also be infectious or potentially infectious. If this is the case, it should be labeled appropriately.

Follow guidelines for proper segregation and labeling of pathological waste.

Pathological waste must be segregated from other types of waste, such as sharps or chemotherapy waste and it must also be properly labeled. The only acceptable method of disposal of pathological waste is by incineration. Additionally it must be labeled with stickers that specify “incineration only”.

Carefully read and understand the federal guidelines regarding definitions of pathological and hazardous waste.

In 1976 Congress gave the EPA the authority to develop the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which is typically referred to as “RCRA”. RCRA is pronounced “rick-rah” and created several categories of hazardous wastes which includes pathological waste that can harm humans or the environment due to contamination with pathogens.  RCRA set up a framework for the proper management of hazardous waste. From the authority granted by Congress, the EPA established a comprehensive regulatory program to ensure that hazardous waste is managed safely. Arguably the most import aspect of this program is a “cradle-to-grave” tracking system, meaning that hazardous and biohazards waste generators must track waste from the moment it enters the site as a hazardous material to the eventual treatment or disposal of that material.  Furthermore, RCRA advises healthcare providers and other waste generators that their list of hazardous wastes are constantly changing.

State regulatory requirements may be more stringent than federal regulations.

Federal and State regulations are not always the same. States may have their own specific waste regulations which are equivalent or more stringent than the layer of protection provided by federal regulations.

States may also require annual or every two years (biennial) reporting of hazardous waste activities. Some states may also choose to consider an item hazardous which may not otherwise be listed federally as hazardous waste.  Be sure to check your state’s policies.

Every agency has their own guidelines, which often overlap, but sometimes are more extensive than others agencies or states requirements. For example the National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides general guidelines regarding the storage, treatment, and disposal of medical pathological waste (MPW).  MPW is defined as as anything that could possibly carry pathogenic agents:  including towels, bedding, anatomical waste, or animal carcasses.  OSHA provides similar guidance for storage of all regulated medical waste (RMW), therefore it is important to comply with all stated regulations.

Waste segregation and proper employee training is critical, not only for cost savings, but in protecting the health of employees, patients, and medical personnel for any medical waste generating facility.

Any individual or group responsible for the preparation of medical waste for transportation to a disposal facility or responsible for signing the medical waste tracking form, is required to receive the appropriate Department of Transportation (DOT) hazardous materials training every two years.

Fines and Liability

Fines and/or liability for improper segregation, transportation, or disposal of pathological waste can be significant.  Fines can be levied by many different organizations.  This is why it is important to choose your medical waste disposal partner carefully.  Compliance to regulations reduces risk from the beginning to the end of the process.  MWA takes compliance seriously in every aspect of our business and seeks excellence in process and risk reduction.  This includes paying special attention to the EPA, DOT, and the TN Department of Environment as rules change frequently.  Additionally, to safeguard our company and our clients MWA is insured for regulated medical waste transportation to include pollution and environmental coverage for potential remediation issues.

Call Medical Waste of America to provide options for safe, secure, efficient, and effective pathological waste solutions. Our solutions not only increase safety, but reduce costs and the inappropriate handling of waste.

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