When was the last time you walked through your labs paying close attention to the available disinfectants? And how long has it been since your Institutional Biosafety Committee or safety committee reviewed the disinfection procedures in place?
105 CMR 480, Minimum Requirements for the Management of Medical or Biological Waste (State Sanitary Code Chapter VIII), promulgates requirements for the storage, treatment, disposal, and transportation of medical or biological waste. There are numerous stipulations in the Sanitary Code, including the four disinfection methods approved for rendering medical or biological waste noninfectious. Not only are there specific methods approved for disinfection, but there are validation and recordkeeping requirements established for the approved methods. Many facilities generating biological waste are required to have their Institutional Biosafety Committee review and approve the appropriate disinfection procedures.
Although approved disinfection methods are established in the Sanitary Code, it is the responsibility of the organization to establish policies appropriate for the waste being generated, and comply with them. Once procedures are established, it is important to take time to discuss how they are being followed and walk through the labs to see if alternative disinfectants are appearing. I have seen numerous cases where five different disinfectants are available in one tissue culture room. Be sure the approved disinfectants are actually in use and everyone is clear on the appropriate disinfectant for the specific biological agents in use.