Cleaning Biohazards

For many the thought of having to deal with a crime scene cleanup situation or cleaning biohazard situation related incident in their homes, offices or schools can be quite scary and confusing circumstance. Having to deal with the loss of a loved one or a potentially dangerous biohazard in your home can be an incredibly difficult and heart-wrenching situation to manage. When tragedies or biohazards are present in your home, office or school it is important to select the appropriate professional to cleanup and remove dangerous materials from the structure. It is also important to understand exactly what danger these biohazards present and what is the most appropriate way to remove all contaminated materials.

Biohazards are infectious agents or hazardous biological materials that present a risk or potential risk to the health of humans, animals’ or the environment. The risk can be direct through infection or indirect through damage to the environment. Biohazardous materials include certain types of recombinant DNA; organisms and viruses infectious to humans, animals or plants (e.g. parasites, viruses, bacteria, fungi, prions, rickettsia); and biologically active agents (i.e. toxins, allergens, venoms) that may cause disease in other living organisms or cause significant impact to the environment or community. Biological materials you may not consider to be biohazardous may still be regulated by local, state or federal government agencies. If you are unsure whether a particular material in your home is considered a biohazard you should always do research prior to removing the contaminant yourself.

Events involving loss of life such as suicide, homicide and natural death are incidents that many individuals rarely plan for. It can be quite difficult to cope, let alone perform the necessary cleaning of a trauma scene after such a tragedy has occurred. After something like this occurs in a home it is necessary to not only perform crime scene clean-up, but also restore property to its original condition and dispose of any biohazards present. First it is necessary to understand what biohazards are present when loss of life has occurred. Human blood contains bloodborne pathogens which are infectious microorganisms that have the potential to cause disease in humans. Some of the diseases that can be transmitted to an individual via human blood include hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Those at risk of exposure include the homes existing occupants, first aid team members, housekeeping personnel, nurses and other healthcare professionals. This is why it is imperative that if you experience such an unfortunate event that an industry-certified decontamination service be used to facilitate the removal and restoration of the structure. The company you select should have experience with decontamination at a wide variety of locations including, but not limited to, law enforcement facilities, government buildings, private residences, hotels, motels and commercial properties. The decontamination process would allow for the sanitizing and cleaning of areas that contain harmful bacteria, viruses or potentially harmful biological components.

Sewage backups are yet another incident in which decontamination would be necessary. Although there are very obvious and smelly reasons why the removal and cleaning of sewage soaked items would be done, there is also a more sinister reason. Raw sewage contains a variety of biological agents such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites that can cause severe illness and in some cases death. When an individual is exposed to sewage there is the potential for them to contract diseases such as tetanus, Leptospirosis, Giardia and Cryptosporidiu, and Gram-negative bacteria such as E.coli. In the case of such an event it is suggested that you enlist the services of a professional decontamination specialist who is well versed in the process of properly removing sewage, contaminants and moisture from a building. It is also necessary to ensure that the structure is completely cleaned and sanitized. Having the proper professional remedy the situation will also help limit cost and possibly help prevent such an event from happening in the future.

Decontamination or cleaning biohazards in a structure can also be done when a structure has been used for illicit activity such as drug production. Drugs such as methamphetamines are made up of other chemicals that are considered volatile and can leave harmful residues throughout a building. This type of cleaning process require adherence to specific federal and state guidelines. Crime scene cleanup does not always entail the cleaning of human waste or bloodborne pathogens. Residue left behind by fingerprint powder and other evidence-gathering chemicals such as tear gas or pepper spray can be part of crime scene cleanup. Crime scene cleanup can also entail the cleaning of areas affected by vandalism such as graffiti ridden walls. Finally for those individuals affected by the disease known as hoarding the deodorization and decontamination process can involve spoiled foods and human and animal waste. All of the above mentioned situations should be cleaned immediately to avoid endangering the lives of the structures occupants.

The cleaning of biological contaminants and other potentially dangerous chemicals resulting from crime and trauma events should only be done by qualified and trained decontamination specialist. As such contaminants are known to cause a variety of illness it is necessary to remove them as quickly and efficiently as possible. Always make sure to enlist the services of a company that abides by the standards set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), The Indoor Environmental Association (IEA), AND The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). This will ensure the job is done right the first time and the situation can be resolved quickly.

Resources:

http://www.indoorrestore.com/services/biohazard-crime-scene-clean-up/

http://nlquery.epa.gov/epasearch/epasearch?querytext=biohazard+waste&fld=&areaname=&typeofsearch=epa&areacontacts=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.epa.gov%2Fepahome%2Fcomments.htm&areasearchurl=&result_template=epafiles_default.xsl&filter=sample4filt.hts

http://biosafety.ucla.edu/bio_hazard_def.html

http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/dsat.htm

 

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