RPBI – Concept, risk, regulation, management and examples

We explain what RPBI or Hazardous Biological-Infectious Waste are, what risk they represent, their regulation and various examples.

rpbi Hazardous biological-infectious waste
RPBIs can contain microorganisms, toxic substances and other harmful elements.

What does RPBI mean?

RPBI is the acronym given in Mexico to Hazardous Biological-Infectious Waste, that is, to those waste materials produced by medical and health care services, which may contain microorganisms, toxic substances and other elements harmful to health and capable of being transmitted to third parties.

These infectious agents can be of different types: bacteria, viruses or parasites in a sufficient concentration to restart an infectious cycle in those who are accidentally exposed to this type of waste, be they humans or animals.

Therefore, the RPBI they are public risk materials that require careful handling, for which the health authorities dictate very specific treatment measures. The body that regulates matters concerning RPBI is the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS).

RPBIs have the potential to trigger disease. They are generated by hospitals, medical-pathological research institutions, clinical laboratories, blood banks, psychiatric units and other similar facilities.

Depending on the amount of RPBI generated and its danger, these organizations must have a physical space to accumulate their waste and a strict temporary handling procedure in complete isolation from the public.

Examples of RPBI

Examples of RPBI are the following materials:

  • Blood samples liquid or its components, either in containers or absorbent materials soaked in it.
  • Bacterial or viral cultures, as well as tissue samples or secretions from infected patients.
  • Organic tissue samples, amputated organs or surgical biowaste.
  • Sharp or pointed tools that have been in contact with a patient’s body, such as needles, scalpels, etc.
  • Feces, urine and other substances secreted by the body of patients.
  • Used medical or bioassay equipmentsuch as syringes, gauze pads, gloves, gowns, masks, or containers.