Procedures and guidelines abstracted from the UMBC Lab Safety Manual

Biohazards Control and Responsibility   

The laboratory supervisor is responsible for the safety of laboratory workers in their area.  In handling biohazardous materials, the supervisor should consider:

It is the responsibility of the laboratory supervisor to post the international biohazard symbol on all entrances to biohazard work areas along with pertinent emergency information. Individuals who have contact with human blood or blood products must comply with the "Exposure Control Plan".  Contact Environmental Safety & Health for more information at extension 5-2918.

Transport and Disposal of Biological, Pathological or Medical Waste

Transport and disposal of infectious waste must be done in accordance with UMBC waste disposal guidelines. Biological, Pathological or Medical Waste (BPMW) includes but is not limited to the following waste:

Any residue or contaminated soil, water, or other debris resulting from the cleanup of a spill of any BPMW. All biological materials, including recombinant DNA, must be autoclaved prior to discarding.

Decontamination of Material    

Materials known or suspected to be contaminated with an infectious agent must be sterilized by the generator.  In general, autoclaving is the most effective and convenient form of sterilization.

Wet Heat (Steam) - Also known as autoclaving, this method requires a chamber temperature of at (least 250°F (121°C).  The processing time begins when the materials being sterilized reach the predetermined temperature.  Monitor steam sterilization  effectiveness with an approved biological indicator. Post the "Autoclave Usage For Safety and Quality Control" sign available   through Environmental Safety & Health near each autoclave in use.

Disinfectants - The following table lists a description of commonly used disinfectants:



Alcohols Ethyl or isopropyl alcohols at 70-80% concentration are good general purpose disinfectants; not effective against bacterial spores.
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds Cationic detergents are strongly surface-active and extremely effective against lipoviruses; not effective against gram negative bacterial organisms and may be neutralized by anionic detergents (soaps).
Chlorine Low concentrations (50-500 ppm) are effective against vegetative bacteria and most viruses; higher concentrations (2500 ppm) are required for bacterial spores; corrosive to metal surfaces; must be prepared fresh; laundry bleach (5.25% chlorine) may be used as a disinfectant.
Iodine Recommended for general use; effective against vegetative bacteria and viruses; poor activity against bacterial spores.  Betadine is a good disinfectant for washing hands.

  Ethylene Oxide Gas (ETO)  - Contact Environmental Safety & Health at extension 5-2918 prior to using ETO for sterilization activities to assure compliance with OSHA regulation and biosafety program guidelines. ETO gas is lethal for all known microorganisms, but is best used to sterilize heat-resistant organisms or heat-sensitive equipment.  ETO sterilization is recommended only when an alternate sterilization method is not possible.

  Disposal guidelines     

For information on proper disposal procedures, see UMBC's waste disposal at or call Environmental Safety & Health at extension 5-2918.

UMBC uses Stericycle of Baltimore for collection and disposal of biohazardous and pathological materials. Contact Stericycle customer service at (1-866-783-7422) or for the appropriate containers and/or to schedule a time for collection.

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