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Jeruba's avatar

Without peeking first, can you draw the biohazard symbol?

Asked by Jeruba (51056points) 1 month ago

You know that symbol that appears on the disposal bins at the hospital or the doctor’s office, right?

Can you draw it from memory?

Make your attempt, and then look it up. Did you do it right? (Also mention if you work in a healthcare field and see it all the time in your workplace.)

I’m just asking out of curiosity. It’s not as simple as it looks.

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18 Answers

anniereborn's avatar

Well, i remembered it was yellow and black and triangular. Not too bad.

FutureMemory's avatar

A certain group of heavy metal music fans will have a definite edge on answering this question, as there is a band named Biohazard that uses that symbol in their logos.

Darth_Algar's avatar


That’s the radiation symbol.

canidmajor's avatar

Oh, yeah, but I have had a lifetime of medical issues, so it is very familiar to me.

Mimishu1995's avatar

This is a very quick drawing of the symbol from my memory. Not sure if it’s right…

Edit: just look it up and I was just 50% accurate :P

chyna's avatar

I had the radiation symbol in my mind too. And I work at a hospital. Shame on me.

Zaku's avatar

I got the three main spokes right and that they each branched in two, but not which way the branches curved, the inner circle, nor the central gap.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Yes, but I never remember if black is at the top or yellow.

Zaku's avatar

From what some people are writing, I wonder how many people are thinking it’s the radiation symbol?

LuckyGuy's avatar

About 15 years ago my son lived in an apartment building. A young woman lived across the hall. One summery day, she was walking around wearing low-rise shorts that were all the rage at the time. As she was entering her apartment I looked over and noticed she had a yellow with black outline, bio-hazard symbol tattooed very low on her lower back.
I wonder if she regrets it now.

Jeruba's avatar

Good point, @Zaku, and I think so. The one I’m talking about is on that little box outside the doctor’s office and the big bin behind the hospital where they deposit I-don’t-know-what for special pickup, but it isn’t radioactive.

@canidmajor, can you draw it from memory, though? Draw it, not just recognize it. That’s the question.

For purposes of this question, it’s just about the shape, not the color.

canidmajor's avatar

Yeah, I did before. The only thing I got wrong was the circle inside the horns was bigger than it should have been.

Jeruba's avatar

What prompted the question is my own inability to draw it from memory. (No, I haven’t copied it while looking at it. That’s not a challenge.)

I think it’s a fascinating symbol in that it consists of simple, basic parts, uniquely joined, and with an appropriately alarming effect. I have sat in ERs and examining rooms and other medical spaces and looked at it and then, looking away, been unable to draw it correctly.

This is unusual for me. I have a strong visual memory and some drawing skill. I think that somehow the symbol transforms into a Gestalt in my head and I have trouble breaking it down into comppnents, like the famous interview question for engineers, “Can you draw a bicycle?”

raum's avatar

Only got the general gist of it.
Three circles over one circle.

Didn’t get details of opening in each circle, how the lines widen or the center circle (from negative space).

LuckyGuy's avatar

I absolutely could not draw it. I could only remember the points looking like crab claws.

jca2's avatar

I was thinking of the radioactivity symbol. I had to google the biohazard symbol to be reminded of what it was. I couldn’t have drawn it.

raum's avatar

@LuckyGuy Crab claws. Haha…now I am totally going to remember it that way.

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