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Biomedical waste consists of solids, liquids, sharps, and laboratory waste that are potentially infectious or dangerous. It must be properly managed to protect the general public, specifically healthcare and sanitation workers who are regularly exposed to biomedical waste as an occupational hazard.

Biomedical waste differs from other types of hazardous waste, such as industrial waste, in that it comes from biological sources or is used in the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of diseases. Common producers of biomedical waste include hospitals, health clinics, nursing homes, medical research laboratories, offices of physicians, dentists, and veterinarians, home health care, and funeral homes.