All Points Medical Waste Blog

What is Pathological Waste?

And How to Dispose of It Properly

Understanding and being able to properly identify different types of medical waste is crucial for all healthcare facilities. It’s an important part of the process of safe handling, storage and disposal and key to ensuring compliance. Pathological waste is one category of medical waste that can sometimes be difficult to define–here’s a quick guide to identifying this type of waste and safe disposal.

Pathological Waste Defined

Pathological waste is defined as any human or animal body part. While this seems pretty cut and dry, there are numerous materials and items that fall into this category including the following:

  • Organs
  • Bodily tissues
  • Surgical Specimens
  • Bodily Fluids
  • Cultures
  • Samples taken during surgery, autopsy or biopsies
  • Blood specimens

It’s also important to note that pathological waste does not include teeth or body parts or tissues that have been chemically stored.

Dangers of Pathological Waste

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) pathological waste can pose risks to people, animals and the environment if improperly handled, stored or disposed of. These dangers include:

  • Viruses that include hemorrhagic fever viruses
  • Tick borne viruses that cause encephalitis
  • Ebola virus
  • Bacteria such as Yersinia pestis ( Y pestis)
  • Toxins
  • Smallpox contaminants
  • AIDS contaminants
  • Other viral components contained in pathological waste
  • Spread of infectious pathogens

Proper Disposal of Pathological Waste

Pathological waste, just like all other medical waste, must be handled, stored and disposed of according to state and federal mandates. This is not only to ensure compliance, but also to protect staff, patients, visitors and the environment. This type of waste falls into the regulated medical waste (RMW) category but it must be segregated from other types of regulated waste including chemotherapy and sharps waste because these types have their own specific guidelines from proper disposal. All pathological waste should be clearly labeled and stored in approved containers.

To ensure compliance, partner with a reputable medical waste disposal company and implement a training program that teaches safe handling and disposal of pathological waste in your healthcare facility.

All Points Medical Waste is a family-owned and operated company located in Stuart, Florida and serving businesses throughout Florida. We provide full-service medical waste disposal, OSHA training for your staff, medical waste containers and flexible schedules for pick-up of your medical waste. Give us a call today or complete the form on this page to get a quick quote.


Dawn Connelly

Dawn is the vice president of All Points Medical Waste. All Points Medical Waste is a family-owned and operated medical waste disposal and compliance company that has been serving the Treasure Coast, Palm Beaches, and surrounding areas since 1994.
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