Biotoxin Treatment & Disposal

The disposal method depends on the chemical composition of the biotoxin. Most proteinaceous biotoxins, such as staphylococcus enterotoxin, ricin, and cholera toxin, can be effectively inactivated by exposure to 10% bleach for at least one hour or by autoclaving at 121°C and 15 psi for one hour. See Autoclave –waste and validation for autoclaving procedure.

Inactivating non-proteinaceous biotoxins is less straightforward. Examples of non-proteinaceous biotoxins are T-2 toxin, conotoxins, and tetrodotoxin. There is conflicting evidence as to which methods are most effective. The following instructions have been developed to ensure that the manner of disposal of all the non-proteinaceous biotoxin wastes is consistent and safe for all personnel involved.

Waste containing non-proteinaceous biotoxins

This waste is picked up as chemical waste by the Division of Research Safety. Follow these instructions:

  1. Do not add bleach or any other chemical to deactivate.
  2. If liquid, collect waste in glass or plastic containers with screw caps. If solid, place the items directly in a puncture-resistant bag no larger than 10 gal in size (small trash can size) and keep the weight below 20 lbs.
  3. The bag must be labeled with the contents, e.g., aflatoxin-contaminated debris, tetrodotoxin <100mg.
  4. Do not use biohazard bags or anything marked with a biohazard symbol. You will be required to repackage the waste if there are visible or covered biohazard symbols.
  5. When full, seal the bag and confirm that the label on the bag is accurate.
  6. Request a chemical waste pickup. Indicate the maximum amount of toxin present in the waste on the form (e.g., tetrodotoxin <100mg) to allow verification that quantities do not qualify for regulation as select agents.

Last Update: 5/12/2014