If you operate a pathology lab, you likely generate a lot of hazardous waste and biohazard waste that needs to be properly and legally disposed of. Generating this type of waste, however, means you're subject to a lot of different rules and regulations for how to safely remove it from your facility for treatment. Because this can quickly become overwhelming, the following is a brief overview of what your pathology lab needs to be aware of in order to stay fully compliant.

Pathology Labs and Biohazardous Waste Disposal

Do Pathology Labs Need to Properly Dispose of Biohazardous Waste?

Yes! A pathology lab will most certainly generate waste that needs to be properly stored, transported, and disposed of. This includes pathological waste, such as tissues samples, and there are also many hazardous materials, such as the flammable solvents involved in the testing process of those tissues samples.

All these materials need to be safely, legally, and properly disposed of. Failing to do so could put your pathology lab in serious financial jeopardy, and it puts everyone who comes in contact with the improperly disposed waste at risk.

The type and amount of waste your lab generates, of course, depends on the size of the facility and the specific tests that are run there. However, if you generate any of these waste types, you must follow all biohazardous waste regulations.

Common Waste Types Generated at a Pathology Lab

Every pathology lab is going to offer slightly different services, so there isn't one coverall answer for the types of waste generated in such a lab. That being said, be aware that the following waste types might apply to your facility:

  • Biohazardous material (including needles and other sharps).
  • Pathological waste (tissue samples).
  • Hazardous waste (flammable solvents used in testing procedures).
  • Lab pack waste (less common but possible).

Once you've accurately ascertained the type (or types) of waste your facility generates, then make sure you know all the rules and regulations surrounding how to properly dispose of them.

Work with Hazardous Waste Removal Companies

One of the best ways for a pathology lab to ensure they are fully compliant with disposal laws is by working with a reputable, experienced waste management company. This provides several advantages.

  • Rely on the company's knowledge and experience.

Use the company's knowledge and experience within the industry to keep you compliant. This enhances general safety and limits your likelihood of being hit with big fines.

A knowledgeable company can also point out anything you're doing currently that's not compliant. This can be something egregious, such as flushing your waste down the drain, or it can be something more subtle. This includes shipping larger organs as biohazardous material rather than pathological waste. When you do that, the generated waste goes to a medical waste autoclave, whereas it's supposed to go to a medical waste incinerator for proper treatment. The right company can help you avoid all these pitfalls.

  • Scale up and down with the company over time.

If you find a flexible company that can scale up or down with you, you can work with the same company you already know and trust—even if you have a small shipment one month (say, a five-gallon pail) and a significantly bigger shipment the next (a fifty-five-gallon drum, for example).

  • Enjoy maximum convenience and savings with a turnkey operation.

Give special preference to turnkey companies who perform all steps of the disposal process, including providing the proper containers, filling out the necessary paperwork, performing the actual pickup, and leaving another container in order to start the process all over again.

When dealing with biohazardous waste disposal, it's best to also partner with a company that owns and operates their own trucks. That way, you're less likely to get hit with an astronomical transportation charge for every biohazard waste pickup.

For more information about biohazardous materials and their safe disposal from your pathology lab, feel free to reach out to a representative of MCF Environmental Services today!