Disposal or Transfer of Infectious Agents, Recombinant DNA, Biologically-derived Toxins, and Lab Close-outs
Biologically-derived toxins, recombinant DNA, and infectious material cannot be sent to the hazardous waste facility (Fay Thompson Center for Environmental Management) for disposal.
Submit a toxin inactivation form to DEHS. Staff involved with the inactivation of biological toxins must wear a lab coat, gloves, and a face shield. A face shield is not required if a biological safety cabinet is used as the work area. Staff involved with the inactivation process must have had training on the handling of hazardous materials.
A spray bottle of 2N sodium hydroxide should be available for a spill cleanup. Spray the spill area with the 2N sodium hydroxide and allow a contact time of one hour. Then spray the work surface with an acid to neutralize the NaOH until the final pH is between 5 and 8. Wipe the work surface with towels and then dispose of the towels in a biohazard container.
For small vials or containers of dry biological toxins:
- Prepare 25 milliliters (or quantity sufficient to cover container) of 2N NaOH in a plastic beaker. Label the beaker as to its content.
- Open the vial or container in a biological safety cabinet and place it into the NaOH solution.
- Use a glass rod or a long forceps to tilt the vial/container so that the solution completely fills the vial/container.
- Allow the vial/container to stand in the solution for at least 1 hour. Place the beaker in a safe area (i.e. fume-hood).
- Neutralize the NaOH solution with acid until the pH is between 5 and 8.
- Remove the vial/container from the solution and rinse with water. Dispose of the vial/container in the normal waste.
- If the toxin was not in a hazardous chemical mixture, the inactivated toxin can be sewered. If the toxin was in a hazardous chemical solution, dispose of it according to hazardous waste guidelines. Do not list the inactivated toxin on the manifest.
For solutions containing biological toxins:
- Estimate the volume of liquid.
- Add sufficient NaOH to make a 2N NaOH solution. Beware: make sure that the chemical(s) in the original solution are compatible with NaOH.
- Allow the solution to stand for at least 1 hour.
- If the material is being disposed of as chemical waste, fill out the correct form excluding the now inactivated biological toxin (i.e. the toxin should not be listed).
- If the solution is compatible with sanitary sewer disposal, neutralize it with acid until the pH is between 5 and 8.
Solid waste containing low molecular weight toxin must be disposed of in a yellow waste bag for incineration. Solid waste containing proteinaceous toxin can be autoclaved at 121ºC for 60 min or placed in a red biohazard bag.
The University of Minnesota employs two methods to dispose of biohazard waste; autoclaving and red bags. The preferred method is autoclaving due to the high cost of red bag disposal - ten times the cost of regular waste disposal. Waste should be autoclaved in clear autoclave bags whenever possible.
- To autoclave waste, follow the procedures described in the Autoclaving Biological Waste Fact Sheet.
- If it is necessary to use red bags, be sure that only biohazardous material is placed in the bag so the university is not paying a premium to dispose of normal waste.
- Close bag when 3/4 full, do not overfill bags, leave bag in lab for pick-up. Do not place red bags in hallways or other public areas.
- If infectious waste pick-up is not normally available in your building, call the Waste Management Division of Facilities Management (612-625-6481) to arrange for a special pickup.
- Do not over estimate the strength of the bags. Do not make them too heavy for the average person to lift when grasping the top of the bag.
- Double bag if there is potential for leaking or if there is a risk that pipettes or tips may puncture bag.
Never put sharps or liquids in waste bags. Consult the infectious waste flow chart for information on pipettes, needles and syringes, slides, blades, scalpels, liquid tissue culture media, and other laboratory materials.
If you have questions contact a biosafety specialist.
Procedures to Transfer Biological Material
The following precautions should be taken when transporting infectious material, recombinant DNA, or biological toxins between buildings or labs:
- Always use a leak-proof sealed primary container within a leak-proof sealed secondary container.
- If the primary container is glass, the secondary container must be a sealed, rigid, non-breakable container.
- Place sufficient absorbent material between the primary and secondary containers to absorb all the volume being transported.
- Place a biohazard sticker on the container with the agent name and the name and phone number of an emergency contact.
- Leave the material with a known responsible individual in the receiving lab. Do not leave the material unattended or with an unknown individual.
- Infectious material or biological toxins can not be transported on buses or in private vehicles.
- If transfer is between two different research labs submit a biological material record of transfer form
To transfer biological materials to another facility follow Guidelines for Shipping/Receiving Biological Materials.
Lab Closeout Procedures
Before closing a lab, see the university's " Lab Closeout with Hazardous Materials Policy ". A HAZARDOUS MATERIALS CLOSEOUT CHECKLIST is provided.
Use the following disposal procedures.
Human and Animal Tissue (including transgenic animal tissue)
- Remove fixed tissue from preservative before disposal.
- Dispose of chemical preservatives as hazardous chemical waste.
- Dispose all human pathological waste through the university's Bequest Program. Call 625-1111 for proper procedures.
- Animal tissue and remains should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and then placed in the red bag within the red biohazard container located in the animal morgue coolers. For cooler locations contact Research Animal Resources (RAR) at 624-9100 or RAR Animal Care Services.
- Defrost and clean refrigerators and freezers.
- If samples need to be saved, locate an appropriate researcher to take responsibility for them and notify your Department Head and RSO as to who is taking responsibility for them.
- If appropriate biological waste disposal is uncertain, contact a biosafety specialist at 612-626-6002.
Biologically-derived Toxins, Recombinant DNA, and Microorganisms/Cultures
- If biologically-derived toxins, recombinant DNA, or microorganism stocks/cultures are moved, destroyed, or transferred to another researcher's control, submit a biological material record of transfer form or toxin inactivation form to DEHS to have the university's biological material inventory updated.
- If an autoclave is available to decontaminate biological waste, place all biohazardous material stocks and culture plates in a clear autoclavable bag and follow the procedures outlined in Autoclaving Biological Waste. If no autoclave is available, place material in a red biohazard bag for pick up.
- Decontaminate liquid biological wastes and wipe down all potentially contaminated surfaces according to the procedures outlined in Microbial Decontamination: Chemical.
- Clean incubators, drying or curing ovens, refrigerators and freezers.
- If samples or stocks need to be saved, locate an appropriate researcher to take responsibility for them and notify your Department Head and RSO as to who is taking responsibility for them.
- If appropriate biological waste disposal is uncertain, contact the University Biosafety Officer at 626-5621.
- Occasionally it is necessary to dispose of materials that contain more than one hazard. Contact Environmental Health and Safety at 626-6002 and ask to speak to the appropriate unit; radiation protection, chemical waste, or biological safety.