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Medical Pathological Waste (MPW)

​Medical Pathological Waste (MPW) includes any waste with actual or perceived presence of infectious or pathogenic agents. This type of waste is generated at the NIH Bethesda campus through various animal and human studies and treatment protocols. The Division of Environmental Protection (DEP) Medical Pathological Waste Program collects all MPW from buildings daily. Some MPW can be decontaminated and then disposed of as general waste. MPW that cannot be disinfected is sent to an off-site medical waste incinerator for disposal. Goals for this program include minimization of medical waste through better segregation and development of effective on-site medical waste treatment systems. For more information, see the NIH Waste Disposal Guide.

MPW Totes Program:

DEP has started a new MPW Totes program for the NIH animal facilities, which allows them to collect a much larger volume of medical pathological waste. The larger collections reduce the frequency of waste collection pickups. In addition, this program provides a cost savings to the institute through the elimination of MPW box purchases and the cost savings for incineration via reduced MPW weight. Please contact DEP for more information.

MPW (or burn) boxes can be purchased online through the NIH Supply Center OR:

Visit one of the Self Service stores on the Bethesda Campus:

Building 10 Self-Service Store
located in Building 10, Room B2B41
Open 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (M-F)
Telephone number 301-496-2051

Building 31 Self-Service Store
located in Building 31, Room B1A-47
Open 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (M-F)
Telephone Number 301-496-4430

If you would like more information about this program, please contact Mansi Mehta or Mike Stefan.

Frequently Asked Questions

​​Question: Does this guidance apply to animal facilities and laboratory MPW procedures?

Answer: All labs and animal facilities should follow their routine protocols for disposing MPW and PPE waste. 

Question: Who do I contact if I have procedural questions regarding the change in services?

Answer: Please email Mansi Mehta at

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