Frequently Asked Questions
- What are biological hazards and why are they dangerous?
- Biological hazards, also known as biohazards, refer to biological substances that pose a threat to the health of living organisms, primarily that of humans and animals. Biohazards can include blood, bodily fluids and tissue containing bacteria, viruses or toxins that can affect human health. Bacteria, viruses and toxins by themselves are considered to be biohazards.
Bloodborne pathogens are those diseases that live in human blood. Many of these diseases can also live in bodily fluids.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are three of the most common bloodborne pathogens from which workers and the public are at risk. Exposure to these diseases can occur in one of two ways:
- A percutaneous injury in which a person’s skin is damaged by an object resulting in a cut or puncture, or
- Contact of mucous membrane or non-intact skin with blood, tissue, or other potentially infectious bodily fluids.
HIV, in certain conditions, can survive outside the body for several weeks. Survival depends on the type of body fluid enveloping the virus, volume of the body fluid, concentration of the virus, temperature, acidity, and exposure to sunlight and humidity.
Hepatitis B virus can live in dried blood for up to a week. Hepatitis C virus can survive for up to four days.
Hepatitis is ten times more common than HIV (Human Immune Deficiency Virus) in the United States. More people now die of Hepatitis C than of HIV. Antibiotics can treat bacterial infections but they do not treat viral infections. Hepatitis A, B and C are virus borne diseases. It is estimated that 1 out of 20 people in the US are infected with some type of Hepatitis.
- Biohazard Level 1: Bacteria and viruses including Bacillus subtilis, canine hepatitis, Escherichia coli, varicella (chicken pox), as well as some cell cultures and non-infectious bacteria.
- Biohazard Level 2: Bacteria and viruses that cause only mild disease to humans, or are difficult to contract via aerosol such as hepatitis A, B, and C, some influenza A strains, Lyme disease, salmonella, mumps, measles, scrapie, dengue fever, HIV.
- Biohazard Level 3: Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist, such as anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, MERS coronavirus, hantaviruses, tuberculosis, typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis, also come under this level.
- Biohazard Level 4: Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, Lassa fever virus, Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic diseases and rishibola.
- How do I find a reputable BioRecovery company?
- Bio recovery remediation is a regulated, complex, labor-intensive and hazardous undertaking. The process can be distressing and emotionally taxing for the untrained.
Bio recovery includes proper selection and donning of personal protective equipment, zoning to secure the location and prevent inadvertent cross-contamination, pre-remediation ATP testing to establish microbial benchmarks, engaging proper bio recovery techniques to contain the exposure and avoid further damage to content and structure, selecting the correct disinfectants, applying disinfectants in compliance with the manufacturer’s directions and safety data sheets, employing correct touch and touchless decontamination technologies, conducting regulated packaging, transport and incineration of biohazard materials recovered and post-remediation ATP testing to demonstrate the operation’s efficacy. Secondary exposures to lead, asbestos, Chinese drywall and other hazardous materials could result when removing contaminated structure.
Certification, training, demonstrated experience, avant-garde technologies and established safety protocols are essential to ensure a bio recovery and decontamination operation is completed safely, successfully and in accordance with regulations and established certification standards.
Non-certified, unlicensed and uninsured companies are popping up around Florida. Hiring the wrong company can lead to liability exposures associated to mishandling the operation and recovered biohazard materials, additional damage to content and property, exposure to pathogens and spores that were not properly eradicated, insufficient and or subpar documentation to support an insurance claim, property liens, theft… Performing due-diligence is very important in finding a reputable bio recovery company. Internet search tools can be an invaluable tool to research companies. In some cases, entire websites are dedicated to companies that have engaged in unsavory practices.
Advanced BioRecovery Solutions has developed a brochure to assist Clientele in selecting a reputable bio recovery company. Click on the links below to view and download the brochure.
- Can my maintenance staff clean up blood and other biohazards? Do my operating costs and exposure to liability increase if I assign biohazard cleanup duties to my employees?
- Federal Regulation 29CFR1910.1030 of OSHA states that no employee can be placed in a position to be exposed to bio hazardous waste without first:
• Receiving blood-borne pathogen (BBP) training.
• Having reviewed an employer’s written BBP exposure control plan.
• Having been provided with personal protective equipment (PPE).
• Having been offered the Hepatitis B vaccine and exposure evaluation with a follow-up.
• Being provided with a method to properly dispose of and store the biohazard waste in properly marked containers at an approved site.
Exposure to employee lawsuits increases exponentially if an employer fails to meet the aforementioned standards. In addition, an OSHA investigation may ensue, resulting in monetary penalties.
Additional training, equipment, PPE, storage and disposal costs may adversely affect the company’s bottomline operating expenses. Companies may also inadvertently subject themselves to higher general liability insurance premiums.
Employees, who are not properly trained in bio recovery, could overlook or misunderstand critical planning, implementation, recovery, disinfecting, transport and disposal steps resulting in increased exposure risks to themselves, others and /or the community. Biohazard cleanup can be mentally and physically taxing. An untrained employee may be ill equipped to cope with the challenges presented, leading to increased company liability.
- How am I affected if the bio recovery company I select is not certified in biohazard recovery and legally permitted to transport biohazard waste?
- Bio recovery is an emerging and developing industry. Individuals and companies requiring bio recovery services should exercise caution when selecting a bio recovery company to handle their decontamination and restoration needs. Bio recovery firms must comply with federal, state and local environmental regulations regarding the disposal of biohazard waste.
Many companies are undertrained, ill-trained or have never been trained in bio recovery. Far more have not obtained the proper permits to generate and transport bio recovery waste. These companies lack the knowledge and skillsets to safely clean, disinfect and decontaminate sites exposed to hazardous waste, placing their employees, the site occupants and the community at risk.
Choosing a bio recovery company that is ABRA and NIDS certified ensures that the company selected is properly trained and has the mechanisms in place to comply with State and Federal regulations and industry standards governing the cleanup, transport and disposal of biohazard materials.
Advanced BioRecovery Solutions, an ABRA and NIDS certified company, exercises strict procedures and protocols to ensure proper cleanup and disposal of biohazard waste. We place client, employee and community safety at the forefront of this complex and involved recovery and disposal process.
ABS Bio Recovery Technicians are certified in cleanup, decontamination, restoration, transport and disposal procedures. These certifications include: First Aid and CPR, Blood Borne Pathogen, HAZWOPER, ABRA, NIDS, and IICRC. ABS Technicians receive annual, biennial and triennial training in State and Federal regulations, ABS protocols and procedures, equipment and chemical applications and cutting edge bio recovery techniques.
The State of Florida requires all bio recovery companies register with the State and pass stringent inspections to meet strict standards around generating and transporting bio hazardous waste. A company or individual who uses a bio recovery company that is not properly permitted may assume liability for mishandled biohazard waste collected and transported by that bio recovery company.
- Am I living in a meth-contaminated home? Am I driving a meth-contaminated vehicle? Can I be harmed by meth contamination?
- Meth use, with its high addiction rate (37%), continues to dominate illegal drug use in the US. Adults using meth can expect to live no more than five years at that point addiction occurs.
Exposure to VOCs may cause symptoms such as nose and throat irritation, headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion and breathing difficulties. Benzene, a potential meth chemical, is a VOC known to cause cancer.
Chemicals that are acids or bases will cause a burning sensation on the skin and in mucous membranes, and can cause severe eye damage. Exposure to hazardous metals and salts can cause a wide range of health effects including respiratory irritation, decreased mental function, anemia, kidney damage and birth defects. Meth affects the central nervous system and will increase heart rate and blood pressure.
Children, in comparison to adults, are far more vulnerable to these toxic byproducts. Children living in a meth-contaminated house can encounter lingering health problems. Exposure to meth residues may cause symptoms similar to those experienced by meth users. These residues may be fatal to young children. See Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment Report – Children’s Risk Assessment
With societal use on the rise, the risk of finding oneself coming in contact with meth contamination is likely, e.g. apartment, house, office building, vehicle. Contamination can occur through the meth manufacturing process (meth cook labs) or individual use. For every pound of meth manufactured, five to six pounds of highly toxic waste byproducts are produced.
There are many different chemical ‘recipes’ for the manufacturing of meth. More than thirty chemicals are used and most are explosive, caustic and carcinogenic. These chemicals include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), household chemicals and other hazardous materials.
Fumes from meth labs, the chemical waste, and meth use are toxic, resulting in illness and/or death. Moreover, cookers often dump their chemicals into the ground, sewers, or septic systems, contaminating the ground, water, and wells, and placing the community at risk for exposure. Meth contamination can affect air quality, furniture, and structure materials, such as flooring, vents, and walls.
Advanced BioRecovery Solutions utilizes avant guard decontamination technologies to neutralize meth contamination efficiently and effectively. With these state-of-the-art technologies employed, labor costs and timeframes to complete decontamination are signifcantly reduced.
- Does Advanced BioRecovery Solutions’ service all of Florida, or just West Palm Beach and surrounding areas?
- Advanced BioRecovery Solutions is permitted to perform it’s services state-wide. Advanced BioRecovery Solutions is based out of Jupiter, Florida in Palm Beach County, response times will vary in relationship to the distance from our home base.
- Does the State of Florida regulate crime scene or trauma scene meth decontamination meth cleanup meth clean up generated biohazards and/or biomedical waste? Does the State of Florida regulate the transport and disposal of the crime or trauma scene biohazards?
- Yes, the Florida Department of Health has a Biomedical Waste Progam, Chapter 64E-16, F.A.C, which specifically regulates the generation and transport of biomedical waste (biohazards).
- Can my rugs and drapery be cleaned and disinfected?
- Rugs, drapery and other like materials are made of highly absorbant material. These materials absorb fluids with ease.
- Does your company offer services to process my property insurance claim for me?
- Advanced BioRecovery Solutions provides insurance claims processing advice, assistance, and in many cases, complimentary litigation services to its Clientele. Our knowledgeable team can aid clients in navigating the complex and involved property insurance filing process, providing expertise where needed. If desired, ABS will handle the entire process at no additional charge to the client.
ABS has successfully processed claims for Allstate, Avatar, Castle Hill, Citizens, Florida Fidelity, Hartford, Heacock, Homeowner’s Choice, Lloyds of Londons, NA Risk, Olympus, Prepared, Pure, Southern Fidelity, State Farm, Tower Hill, Travelers, UIHNA, Universal, and USAA. Do not be concerned if your Insurer is not listed. As a leader in biorecovery and decontamination services, the list of insurers interested in collaborating with ABS continues to grow.
An experienced biorecovery company will be able to successfully navigate the complex insurance claims processing system to ensure you receive maximum compensation for a covered loss. Poor photo journaling, incomplete or inadequate documentation and use of incorrect language / terminology to describe, in writing, the biohazard incident the scope of damage and the biorecovery and decontamination operation could compromise your claim.
Advanced BioRecovery Solutions’ guarantee is boldly etched in every service it offers. Confidence in our services emanate from the vanguard technologies utilized, proven remediation methodologies applied and the professional biorecovery technicians ABS employs. ABS will issue a Certificate of Occupancy at the completion of the biorecovery and decontamination operation.