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Biohazard Symbol Origin


As a whole, hazard symbols are designed to warn individuals that a certain material or location contains a harmful “things” that could be potentially lethal. Biohazard symbols specifically are designed to warn about biomedical dangers, which may come in the form of life-threatening viruses or other diseases. Hazard symbols in general tend to come in many different designs and colors, while biohazard symbols are universally recognized by their three overlapping circles.

Biohazard Symbol Origins

It is estimated that the biohazard symbol people see today has been being used since about 1966. The Dow Chemical Company developed these symbols so that they could better warn the general public about their products. A man by the name of Charles Baldwin was amongst one of many environment-health engineers who contributed to this promising project.

He mentioned that their goal was to create a symbol that was both memorable and meaningless, that is, people would be able to notice it when a biohazard situation was relevant, but then easily forget about it when a threat wasn’t present. Since around 1967, the biohazard symbol has been used in all industries related to biomedical sciences, and has even been featured in Hollywood movies and television shows. It’s unambiguous, unique, and gets the job done.

Plus, it doesn’t really allow anyone to get the symbol confused with any other hazard-related symbol. No matter where you are in the world, what your race is, or what your background in biomedical sciences are, you’ll be able to recognize the biohazard symbol. Even small children are able to recognize these symbols since they’re exposed to it early on in life via movies and television shows.

The BioHazard Symbol

Every part of the biohazard symbol can be drawing using a straightedge and a compass. This symbol itself is comprised of three overlapping circles with various parts that are erased. There is a tiny circle in the middle that serves as a place holder for all of the larger circles used in the symbol. Generally, there is a circle that gets created among the inside of the three erased circles, giving the biohazard symbol more depth.

What Are The Different Levels of Biohazard?

In the United States, there are four primary levels of biohazard, with level 1 being the minimum risk and level 4 being the maximum risk. In biohazard level 1, precautions tend to be minimal, and will usually only incorporate some facial protection and gloves. Bacteria and viruses fall under this category. In biohazard level 2, specialized facilities will be needed to study viruses and bacteria that are causing mild diseases within humans.

Some of these include mumps and salmonella. During biohazard level 3, viruses and bacteria are now starting to become very fatal to humans. Some diseases that fall under this category include West Nile virus, anthrax, tuberculosis, typhus, and even HIV. Finally, there is biohazard level 4. In this level, diseases caused by bacteria and viruses have become very fatal, and a vaccine has not been developed to prevent them from spreading.

Some of these can include the Ebola virus, Marburg Virus, and even smallpox. When dealing with biological hazards at this level, scientists will generally take the most extreme amount of precautions before dealing with test subjects and patients. For example, rooms with multiple airlocks might be used, and labs might undergo tight concealment restrictions to ensure that the pathogen doesn’t make its way into the general public.

The Importance of Biohazard Plastic Bags

As you might already be able to guessing after learning more about the history of the biohazard symbol, plastic bags with biohazard symbols are very important. Without them, it would be difficult to transport dangerous bacteria or viruses while warning the individuals who are going to be handling them.

Whenever there are biohazard plastic bags, the people who handle those bags are going to be much more careful when moving them around thus, lessening the chances of the contents inside spilling into the surrounding area. Biohazard ziplock bags are used universally for transferring test specimens between medical offices and laboratories, as well as for moving them within the laboratory networks. The great part is that biohazard plastic bags are very budget-friendly, and will serve as a quality investment for the long run as you will be able to better-contain a specimen that is potentially dangerous to the public.