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Special care and caution must be exercised by all research, health and animal care personnel in the use and disposal of sharps. Needlesticks or cuts from contaminated sharps present a significant occupational health risk because such injuries may directly introduce pathogens, chemicals or radioactive materials into the body. Sharps include needles, syringes, razor blades, slides, scalpels, pipettes, broken plastic or glassware, and other devices capable of cutting or piercing the skin (micropipettes, pipette tips). The following practices must be observed when handling and disposing of these items.
Each of the above classes of sharps will need to be further segregated according to their hazard (i.e. biological, radioactive, chemical). Chemically contaminated materials must be kept together and the waste label must show the type of residual chemical left in the sharp. This is disposed of through the chemical waste program. Biological or biohazardous waste must be disposed of through the infectious waste program. Radioactive contaminated sharps must be disposed of through the radiation program. For any materials that contain more than one hazard, call the Department of Environmental Health & Safety for disposal information.
Questions concerning radioactive waste should be emailed to William Fendt, chemical waste questions should be emailed to Jane Frank, and infectious/biological waste questions should be emailed to EHS or call 831-8475.