Governing Law and Regulations
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
See ADDRESSES & CONTACTS for addresses and telephone numbers.
This section covers regulatory requirements of decontamination for hazardous substances and bloodborne pathogens. It does not cover decontamination for biological, radiological, or nuclear agents or substances, nor does it cover decontamination of populations following a disaster or terrorist attack.
The purpose of the decontamination rules is to:
- Protect public health and the environment.
- Protect employees from injury or illness.
"Decontamination" refers to the removal of unwanted material from facilities, soils, people, or equipment by washing, chemical action, mechanical cleansing, or other techniques. It is a process of treatment that renders a surface or object safe to handle, use, or dispose of safely.
EPA and OSHA have adopted decontamination-related regulations for the following substances and related activities, which are described in this section:
- Bloodborne pathogens
- Emergency response to spills or releases of hazardous substances
- Hazardous waste handling and disposal