Waste Disposal

The NIH Guidelines, Biosafety in Biomedical and Microbiological Laboratories (BMBL) and the State of Mississippi have similar specific requirements for the disposal of biomedical research waste. Both the BMBL and the NIH Monograph of 1979 delineate benefits and risks associated with several decontamination methods including, but not limited to, steam sterilization, chemical sterilization and incineration. 

The NIH Guidelines defers to the NIH Monograph of 1979 with respect to choosing a method, while BMBL defers to the institutional, local and state requirements. 

Mississippi State University follows the Adopted Standards for the Regulation of Medical Waste as published by the Mississippi State Department of Health. Approved methods of decontamination currently in use at Mississippi State University include: incineration, steam sterilization, chemical and a certified biomedical waste vendor that utilizes those methods.

The following material types are to be decontaminated by approved means:

  1. Bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic, prion and/or biological toxin cultures and/or stocks
  2. Animals, plants, human derived and/or other materials contaminated with bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic, prion and/or biological toxin agents
  3. Recombinant and/or synthetic nucleic acid molecules, hosts containing them and/or other materials that have been contaminated by those materials.

Note: If choosing  to utilize a biomedical waste vendor, please contact the Biological Safety Office at 662-325-0620 to receive instruction on packaging of waste and to coordinate pick-up of waste.

Sharps: DO NOT place any kind of sharps in a bag. All sharps, contaminated or not, must go into some kind of puncture-proof, leak-proof container. All sharps contaminated with recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules must go into a RED sharps container. Close and process for decontamination when the container is 2/3 full. 

Liquid Disinfection: Liquid disinfectants must be used according to manufacturer's instructions and be listed on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticides and Toxic Substances register. Remember, chemicals have different efficacies based on the agent and/or material being treated (i.e., contact times, organic load, liquid, solid, etc.) and some chemicals used to treat biohazardous materials, may have specific chemical waste disposal protocols. Please contact the Biological Safety Office if you are unsure of how to utilize a chemical treatment for your agent or need advice on the type of chemical that is right for you. 

Steam Sterilization: Steam sterilization is one of the most common biohazardous waste decontamination methods at Mississippi State University. Therefore, the University has adopted an Autoclave Verification Program to assist biomedical research laboratories, belonging to the University, in successfully meeting the requirements for their use.