A biological Hazard commonly referred to as a biohazard is any biological substance that has the capability of causing a serious threat to the health of humans and other living organisms. It includes plants, animals, microorganisms, and their by-products. From home and workplaces to laboratories and hospitals, biohazards can be found anywhere. Once noticed, it becomes the responsibility of the person to treat it before the situation goes out of hand. In most of the cases, proper steps and guidelines must be followed before making an attempt to clean anything. Sharp materials including syringes, needles, glass as well as blood, and other body fluids are potential biohazards.
The following list includes the ten most common biohazards every person must know about:
- Sharps Waste
Sharps waste is the most common biomedical waste and can be easily found in hospitals and laboratories. From hypodermic needles and blades to disposable scalpels and contaminated glass, anything composed of “sharps” can be categorized as biohazardous. Thus, an object or device that is used to lacerate or puncture the skin must be handled with utmost caution. Sharps waste must be securely packed in permanently closed containers and disposed into the healthcare waste receptacles. Also, it should be cleaned with a disinfectant just before completely removing from the laboratory or hospital.
2. Unattended Deaths
when an individual passes away may be due to numerous reasons including a homicide accident, suicide, or other natural causes, their mortal remains might go unnoticed. If discovered after several days, weeks, or months of passing away, these deaths can become a serious biohazard. People living alone and away from their loved ones are usually susceptible to such deaths. The airborne pathogens, from the unattended deceased body, are likely to circulate in the area and cause serious illness to another person’s health. In such a scenario, a thorough biohazard cleanup must be immediately undertaken.
Another weird yet common biohazard that must be taken into consideration is Hoarding. A hoarder is an individual who is obsessed with collecting and saving items. And history has it, that this vicious hoarding habit is one of the most unusual ways people have ever died. The New York-based Collyer brothers, who were addicted to piling up objects in their home. When a hoard is left untreated for a period of time, it makes toxic progress in its development and begins to spread around in the area. It usually comprises of discarded items and human waste. As large as a hoard grows, it becomes inaccessible and starts to attract rodents and other insects, eventually affecting the inhabitants by placing them at a high-risk illness and disease
4. Mold and Mildew Infections
One of the most common biohazard materials on the list, mold, and mildew is usually found in homes and at workplaces. Mold refers to certain kinds of microscopic fungi known as hyphae, that can be toxic and harmful if left untreated for longer time periods. It often thrives on leather, ceilings, shower walls, and floors of unaired places like basements. It might as well produce a strong odor. In such cases, one must get the mold and mildew fixed as soon as noticed before things go out of hand and become dangerous for the people around. Instead of treating mold and mildew themselves without any safety measures, one must inform cleaning companies to undertake the task.
5. Human Body Fluids
Being capable of causing infections and serious illness to humans, a biohazardous material must be disposed of away properly when noticed. Places such as hospitals and laboratories follow a set of guidelines when it comes to getting rid of the medical waste, as it might be life-threatening. The reason for such strictness is the common appearance of biohazards in the form of human body fluids. From semen and vaginal secretions to saliva, cerebrospinal fluid, peritoneal fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, and amniotic fluid, any body fluid can become problematic if left untreated.
6. Pathological Waste
Pathological waste is a form of biohazardous waste, that has the ability to contaminate and cause infections to an individual in its contact. It usually originates from samples of human and animal tissues that are kept to be studied, examined, or diagnosed in laboratories. Mostly such tissues are either abnormal or are diseased. Pathological waste must be intentionally disposed of away following the safety guidelines and procedure. It is thus, separately packed in red bags that are thoroughly sanitized and tied together.
7. Septic Tank and Sewage
It is of no surprise that septic tanks and sewage have the potential of becoming biohazardous over time if left untreated. Septic tanks perform the task of holding both liquid and solid wastes in a lightless and airless environment. Such places are likely to breed harmful organisms, that might as well lead to harmful diseases. A problem of blockage and overflowing can be easily avoided most of the time by treating the waste then and there before it grows into something detrimental. In order to stay away from illness, it is important that the sewage system is maintained and cleaned regularly.
8. Flooding and Water Damage
Heavy flooding is a common result of tsunamis and hurricanes. Usually, in such times, humans, animals, and all of the livelihood is enormously affected. If left unhandled for a long time, the area might become inaccessible and the water contaminated. This further breeds micro-organism and might as well turn quickly into a biohazard. It thus becomes difficult to have access to safe water and easier to become a victim of fatal diseases including cholera. Also, due to flooding, a lot of objects are left to rot, which might as well add to the illness.
9. Animal Waste
Simply put, any waste that is derived from animals is referred to as Animal waste. It includes everything from carcasses, animal blood, body fluids, body parts, and bedding materials that are believed to be infected with any disease communicable to human beings. They pose a great threat to people in the form of serious illnesses and diseases. Also, such waste can easily lead to a grave biohazardous condition. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to handle and dispose of animal waste properly.
10. Blood and Blood Products
Human blood and blood products, if handled carelessly or disposed of away improperly, can prove to be a serious biohazard. Objects contaminated with plasma, serum, blood components, or other body fluids, and tissues have the potential to cause significant illness. Flecks of dried human blood on items or anything that squeezes out body fluids are usually considered biohazardous. In order to be included in the list of biohazards, blood or body fluids must be present in a pourable amount.