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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.

Procedures for the Inactivation of Biologically-Derived Toxins

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:

For solutions containing biological toxins:

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.

Infectious Agents or Recombinant DNA

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.

  1. To autoclave waste, follow the procedures described in the Autoclaving Biological Waste Fact Sheet.
  2. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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Procedures to Transfer Biological Material

The following precautions should be taken when transporting infectious material, recombinant DNA, or biological toxins between buildings or labs:

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)

Biologically-derived Toxins, Recombinant DNA, and Microorganisms/Cultures

Mixed Hazards

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