Definition of Infectious Medical Waste
Managing Infectious Medical Wastes
Statutes, Regulations and Guidelines
Definition of Infectious
Infectious Medical Waste includes
solid or liquid wastes, which may contain pathogens with sufficient
virulence and quantity such that exposure to the waste by a susceptible
host has been proven to result in an infectious disease. The following
wastes are considered to be infectious medical waste:
from the care of patients and animals who have Class I and /or
Class II diseases that are transmitted by blood and body fluid.
and stocks of agents; including specimen cultures collected from
medical and pathological labs, cultures and stocks of infectious
agents from research and industrial labs, wastes from the production
of biologicals, discarded live and attenuated vaccines, culture
dishes and devices used to transfer, inoculate, and mix cultures.
blood products such as serum, plasma, and other blood components.
wastes, such as tissues, organs, body parts, and body fluids
that are removed during surgery and autopsy.
carcasses, body parts, and bedding of animals that were exposed
to pathogens in medical research.
sharps which have come into contact with infectious agents.
determined infectious by the generator or so classified by the
Mississippi Department of Health.
Managing Infectious Medical
The Mississippi Department of Environmental
Quality has not, at this time, developed comprehensive regulations
regarding the transportation and management of infectious medical
waste. However, the proper transportation, management and disposal
of infectious medical waste in Mississippi are regulated under the
general provisions of the Mississippi Solid Waste Law and the Mississippi
Nonhazardous Waste Management Regulations.
The Mississippi State Department of
Health regulates the on-site storage and management of medical waste
through the Adopted Standards for the Regulation of Medical Waste
in Health Care Facilities Licensed by the Mississippi State Department
of Health. For information on the regulation of commercial management
of medical wastes, contact the Solid Waste Management Branch at the
Department of Environmental Quality.
The off-site management and disposal
of infectious medical waste is regulated by the Department of Environmental
Quality under the provisions of the Mississippi Non-hazardous Solid
Waste Management Regulations and the Mississippi Solid Waste Law. Disposal
of such waste at a landfill or other solid waste facility is addressed
through specific conditions in that facilitys solid waste management
permit. These permit conditions generally prohibit municipal solid
waste disposal facilities from accepting infectious medical waste
that has not been rendered non-infectious. State regulations also
require that, prior to the establishment of any commercial facility
in the State specifically for the storage, transfer, treatment or
processing of infectious medical wastes, the owner or operator of
the facility must obtain environmental operating permits form the
Department for a solid waste management facility.
Treatment and Disposal of Infectious Medical
Treatment or disposal of infectious medical waste
shall be by one of the following methods:
By incineration in an approved incinerator which
provides combustion of the waste to carbonized or mineralized ash.
By sterilization by heating in a steam sterilizer,
so as to render the waste non-infectious. Infectious medical waste
so rendered non-infectious shall be disposable as medical waste.
Use of heat sensitive tape or other device for
each container that is processed to indicate the attainment of adequate
Use of the biological indicator Bacillus stearothermophilus
placed at the center of a load processed under standard operating
conditions at least monthly to confirm the attainment of adequate
By discharge to the approved sewerage system if
the waste is liquid or semi-liquid, except as prohibited by the State
Department of Health.
Recognizable human anatomical remains shall be
disposed of by incineration or internment, unless burial at an approved
landfill is specifically authorized by the Mississippi State Department
Chemical sterilization shall use only those chemical
sterilants recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances. Ethylene oxide, glutaraldehyde,
and hydrogen peroxide are examples of sterilants that, used in accordance
with manufacturer recommendation, will render infectious waste non-infectious.
Testing with Bacillus subtilis spores or other equivalent organisms
shall be conducted quarterly to ensure the sterilization effectiveness
of gas or steam treatment.
Treatment and disposal of medical waste that is not
infectious shall be by one of the following methods:
In addition to the state medical waste
environmental regulations there are some Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) rules that apply to medical/infectious
waste. Mississippi is one of 26 states covered entirely by the federal
OSHA program. This program is operated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA
rules (Occupational Exposure to Bloodborne Pathogens Standards) impact
various aspects of medical/infectious waste, including management
of sharps, requirements for containers that hold or store medical/infectious
waste, labeling of medical/infectious waste bags/containers, and
employee training. These requirements can be found in the HERC section
entitled OSHA Standards for Regulated Waste.
Department of Environmental Quality
For additional specific information
on the Standards for the Regulation of Medical Waste in Health Care
Facilities Licensed by the Mississippi State Department of Health,
contact the Health Facilities Licensure and Certification Division
of that agency at (601) 576-7300. For information on the regulation
of commercial management of medical wastes, contact the Solid Waste
Management branch at the Department of Environmental Quality at (601)
Statutes, Regulations and
In this section, you will find links
to points of contacts at the Mississippi agencies responsible for
regulation healthcare facility waste, links to the text of the regulation,
and additional resources that you might find of interest on this
Standards for the Regulation of Medical Waste in health care
facilities licensed by the Mississippi State Department of Health.
Waste Fact Sheet.
Commercial Medical Waste Facilities in Mississippi