Health and Safety

CHAPTER 23-19.12
Generation – Transportation – Storage – Treatment – Management and Disposal of Regulated Medical Waste

SECTION 23-19.12-3

§ 23-19.12-3. Definitions.

The following words and phrases have the following meanings ascribed to them in this chapter unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

(1) "Body fluids" means liquids emanating or derived from humans and limited to blood; cerebrospinal, synovial, pleural, peritoneal and pericardial fluids; dialysate and amniotic fluids; and semen and vaginal secretions but excluding feces, urine, nasal secretions, sputum, sweat, tears, vomitus, saliva, and breast milk, unless any excluded substance contains visible blood or is isolation waste.

(2) "Director" means the director of the department of environmental management or his or her designee. The designee may be any employee of the department of environmental management or from the department of health.

(3) "Disposal" means the discharge, deposit, injection, dumping, spilling, leaking, abandoning, or placing of any regulated medical waste in, on, into, or onto any land, other surface, or building or vehicle, or trailer, or other containment structure, or into any water, watercourse, stormwater system, or sewer system.

(4) "Generator" means any person whose act or process produces regulated medical waste or whose act first causes a regulated medical waste to become subject to regulation. In the case where more than one person (e.g. doctors with separate medical practices) is located in the same building, each individual business entity is a separate generator. The universe of medical waste generators includes, but is not limited to, hospitals, physician's offices, dental offices, veterinary practices, funeral homes, research laboratories that perform health related analysis or services, nursing homes, and hospices.

(5) "Medical waste tracking form" means the form used for identifying the quantity, composition, and the origin, routing, and destination of regulated medical waste during its transportation from the facility of generation to the point of transfer, disposal, treatment, destruction, or storage.

(6) "Person" means an individual, trust, firm, joint stock company, corporation (including a government corporation), partnership, association, state, municipality, commission, political subdivision of a state, any interstate body, or any department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States.

(7)(i) "Regulated medical waste" means a special category of solid waste that includes specific types of medical waste subject to the handling and tracking requirements. Regulated medical wastes mixed with nonhazardous solid wastes are considered regulated medical wastes for the purposes of this chapter.

(ii) A regulated medical waste is any waste, as defined in this subdivision (7), generated in the diagnosis (including testing and laboratory analysis), treatment, (e.g., provision of medical services), or immunization of human beings or animals, in research pertaining thereto, or in the preparation of human remains for burial or cremation, or in the production or testing of biologicals, or in the development of pharmaceuticals, that is listed in this section but is not excluded or exempted in subdivision (7)(iv) of this section. Regulated medical waste becomes subject to the regulations in this chapter at the time and in the location that the materials become waste.

(iii) The following categories of medical wastes are regulated medical waste:

(A) Cultures and stocks. Cultures and stocks of infectious agents and associated biologicals, including: cultures from medical and pathological laboratories; cultures and stocks of infectious agents from research and industrial laboratories; wastes from the production of biologicals; discarded live and attenuated vaccines; and culture dishes and devices used to transfer, inoculate, and mix cultures.

(B) Pathological wastes. Human pathological wastes, including tissues, organs, and body parts that are removed during surgery or autopsy, or other medical procedures.

(C) Human blood, blood products and body fluids. (I) Liquid waste human blood or body fluids;

(II) Products of blood;

(III) Items saturated and/or dripping with human blood;

(IV) Items that were saturated and/or dripping with human blood that are caked with dried human blood; including, but not limited to, serum, plasma, and other blood components and their containers; or

(V) Specimens of body fluids and their containers.

(D) Sharps. Sharps that have been used in animal or human patient care or treatment (including sharps generated from the preparation of human and animal remains for burial or cremation), or in medical, research, or industrial laboratories, including, but not limited to, hypodermic needles, syringes (with or without the attached needle), pasteur pipettes, scalpel blades, blood vials, needles with attached tubing, glass carpules, and glass culture dishes (regardless of presence of infectious agents). Also included are other types of broken or unbroken glassware that has been used in animal or human patient care or treatment, such as used slides and cover slips.

(E) Animal waste. Contaminated animal carcasses, body parts, and bedding of animals that were known to have been exposed to infectious agents during research, (including research in veterinary hospitals), production of biologicals, or testing of pharmaceuticals.

(F) Isolation wastes. Biological waste and discarded materials contaminated with blood, excretion, exudates, or secretions from humans who are isolated to protect others from certain highly communicable diseases, or isolated animals known to be infected with highly communicable diseases. These diseases include:

Variola minor Alastrim
Variola major Smallpox
Monkey pox Human Monkeypox
White pox Crimean hemorrhagic fever virus Crimean hemorrhagic fever
Junin virus Argentine hemorrhagic fever
Machupo virus Bolivian hemorrhagic fever
Herpes virus simiae (Monkey B) Oncogenic in primates
Lassa virus Lassa fever
Marburg virus Marburg virus disease
Russian spring-summer Russian spring-summer
encephalitis virus encephalitis
Kyasanur forest disease virus Kyasanur forest disease
Omsk hemorrhagic fever virus Omsk hemorrhagic fever
Central European Central European
encephalitis virus encephalitis
Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus Venezuelan equine encephalitis
Yellow fever virus Yellow fever
Ebola virus Ebola virus disease
Absettarov virus Tick-borne encephalitis
Hanzalova virus Tick-borne encephalitis
Hypr virus Tick-borne encephalitis
Kumlinge virus Tick-borne encephalitis

(G) Any other diseases identified as Biosafety Level 4 etiologic agents by the Center for Disease Control.

(H) The following diseases are included in the list of "highly communicable diseases" associated with animals. Unless otherwise noted by an asterisk, these diseases are part of the National Notifiable Disease Surveillances System list:




Eastern Equine Encephalitis


Lyme Disease


Psittacosis (Chlamydiosis)






*Cat-Scratch Fever Disease

*Ebola Virus

*Ehrlichia canis


*Monkey B-Virus

*Monkey Marburg Virus


*"Q" Fever

*Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

*Vesicular Stomatitis

(I) Unused sharps. Unused discarded sharps, including hypodermic needles, suture needles, syringes, and scalpel blades.

(J) Spill/cleanup material. Any material collected during or resulting from the cleanup of a spill of regulated medical waste.

(K) Mixtures. Any waste which is a mixture of regulated medical waste and some other type of waste which is neither radioactive nor a hazardous waste of a type other than regulated medical waste.

(iv) Exclusions and exemptions. The following categories of medical waste are specifically excluded from the definition of regulated medical waste:

(A) Hazardous waste identified or listed under DEM hazardous waste regulations promulgated under § 23-19.1-6. Regulated medical waste that is mixed with hazardous waste shall be defined as hazardous waste and shall be regulated in accordance with DEM hazardous waste regulations.

(B) Household medical waste, limited to medical waste generated by individuals on the premises of a single-family home or single-family dwelling unit or by members of households residing in single and multiple residences, hotels, and motels which serve as a residence for individuals, provided the dwelling is not serving as a commercial or professional office where individuals who are not members of the family residing at the dwelling are receiving medical care by a health care professional.

(C) This exemption includes the wastes generated by health care providers in private homes where medical services are provided to individuals who reside there.

(D) Medical waste generated and disposed of with residential solid wastes from a single family residential premise or single-family dwelling unit shall be exempt from these regulations except where regulated medical waste is generated from commercial or professional offices.

(E) Incinerator ash and treatment/destruction residue. Regulated medical waste that has been both treated and destroyed is no longer regulated medical waste; this includes ash from the incineration of regulated medical waste (provided the ash meets the definition for treated regulated medical waste and destroyed regulated medical waste) and residues from wastes that have been both treated and destroyed (e.g., waste that has been subjected to decontamination and grinding, or chemical disinfection followed by grinding, or stream sterilization followed by shredding).

(F) Human remains, e.g., corpses and anatomical parts that are stored, transported, or otherwise managed for purposes of interment or cremation. However, regulated medical waste attached to, or within, a corpse is not exempt and must be removed and then managed as regulated medical waste.

(G) Etiologic agents that are being transported intrastate and/or interstate between facilities pursuant to regulations set by the U.S. department of transportation, the U.S. department of health and human services, and all other applicable shipping requirements.

(H) Enforcement samples, including samples of regulated medical waste obtained during enforcement procedures by authorized U.S. environmental protection agency personnel and the state of Rhode Island.

(8) "Storage" means the temporary holding of regulated medical wastes at a designated accumulation area before treatment, destruction, disposal, or transport to another location.

(9) "Transport" means the movement of regulated medical waste from the facility of generation to any intermediate points, and finally to the point of ultimate storage or disposal.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1992, ch. 497, § 1.)