Bio Cleaning: A Comprehensive Guide on Biohazards and Cleanup
When people think of “biohazards”, the pictures that come to mind are hazmat suits and hazard tape. Some even think of nuclear materials that could cause all sorts of health problems. While this is true to some extent, not many folks have a full understanding of what biohazards are. More so, fewer know what to do when they have to clean up a biohazard.
Therefore, in this article, we will talk extensively about bio cleaning. We will begin by explaining what biohazards are, their types, where a biohazard exposure might occur, and the types of biohazard cleanup.
What are they?
“Biohazard” is coined from two words; “Biological” and “Hazard”, hence, it can simply be said to be a biological hazard. To further define this word, it is any type of biological substance, material, or item that could cause a health risk to humans or animals.
The most well-known and common biohazard substance is blood. We all have blood flowing in our circulatory system, but only a few know how hazardous this substance truly is. Hence, crime scenes that involve the spilling of blood are quickly cleaned up after evidence has been collected to ensure it doesn’t cause any form of harm.
Other examples are human wastes, fungus and mold spores, industrial chemicals, and animal infestations. Some are commonly found, while others are only found in certain environments. Black mold is common in homes with condensation or a water leak and it can cause the lungs of infants to bleed.
Categorization and Types
Several of these harmful biological materials are a product of microorganisms like fungi and bacteria, viruses as well as toxins. They are categorized by the Center for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) according to their types and effects.
The categorization of these harmful substances is divided into safety levels due to the harm level they cause. These levels are:
Level 1 – minimal human threat. E. coli is an example of this.
Level 2 – causes moderate human harm. HIV is a typical example.
Level 3 – very harmful pathogens with the potential to be spread by air. Tuberculosis is one example.
Level 4 – pathogens that are life-threatening to humans that have no known cure and treatment. An example is Ebola. Click here to learn more about these four biological safety levels.
Biohazards are further divided into these types:
1. Human Bodily Fluids
This refers to any kind of fluid that comes out of the human body which could lead to disease transfer from one person to another. Examples are blood, amniotic fluid, saliva, etc.
2. Medical Waste
These are items and byproducts that are used in the medical field. Examples are tissue samples and laboratory cultures.
3. Animal Wastes and Carcasses
Droppings from animals may contain viruses and bacteria which may become airborne. Also, carcasses can attract pests like rodents and flies that can carry and transmit diseases.
4. Fungi and Mold
The spores may become airborne thereby leading to respiratory, neurological as well as other related diseases.
5. Bacteria and Viruses
Some of these microorganisms can stay alive outside their original hosts. Hence, they can then cause harm to humans within that environment.
Where can an Exposure Occur?
Contrary to popular belief, exposure to biohazard isn’t as rare as many think. They are so common that you can get exposed in your home. As we mentioned above, a leak in your home or condensation can cause black mold to grow which can be harmful to an infant. Furthermore, droppings from rodents can contain certain pathogens that could become airborne and cause illness.
Outside your home, nightlife areas, and hotel may have bodily fluids or sharp objects like used needles. Some assisted living areas may experience viral outbreaks. Crime scenes, medical incidents, industrial accidents can also leave an area exposed. In such cases, a bio cleanup is required.
Types of Bio Cleanup
The extent of the cleanup is dependent on the type or category of the hazardous material. Mold for example is a very tough substance to get rid of completely without professional aid. Missing any spore during the cleanup can cause the infestation to return as quickly as it was dealt with.
Some other hazardous items like needles can be cleaned more easily. Many communities have established protocols for dealing with such items.
You will need the aid of experts when it comes to death cleanups. They will be able to detect and deal with such biohazards using universal precautions thanks to their training. Furthermore, they are more knowledgeable about local and state regulations concerning the proper manner on how to safely dispose all kinds of biohazards. Hence, hiring them to do the job will save you from any legal issue and penalty you might incur if you disposed such materials wrongly.
Biohazards can be harmful when one is exposed to them depending on their category and type. This is why professionals make use of PPE (personal protective equipment) to protect them from exposure to any pathogen. They also have the proper equipment that can be used to test your property if it is free of any biohazard. They run such tests before commencing the cleanup and also after the cleanup as a means of verifying if the area is safe.
A crime or trauma scene requires a special crime scene cleaning company. These companies are usually contacted by the authorities who responded to the crime scene such as the police. Bio cleaning professionals own equipment and are well trained to deal with all sorts of present biohazards that range from breaking down body fluids to enzyme solutions, and sanitizing and deodorizing properties with the aid of hydroxyl generators with UV light. Visit https://www.livescience.com/50326-what-is-ultraviolet-light.html to learn more about UV light.
Common cleanups circumstances are:
- Human deaths such as homicide, suicide, etc.
- Animal infestation including dead carcasses, droppings, etc.
- Crime scene or criminal activity including tear gas deposit, meth labs, etc.
- Local disease outbreaks
- Fungus or mold infestations
- Odor removal
- Workplace or industrial accidents e.g. chemical spills
- Black water and sewage cleanup
- Decontamination and vehicle cleaning
We can all agree that biohazards are harmful to our health, but with proper cleaning carried out by professionals, the health risk can be greatly reduced.