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Information about Biohazards

Biohazards are biological agents or substances present in or arising from the work environment. They present or may present a hazard to the health or well-being of the worker or the community. Biological agents and substances include infectious and parasitic agents, noninfectious microorganisms, such as some fungi, yeast, algae, plants and plant products, and animals and animal products that cause occupational disease. Generally, biohazards are either:

1. Infectious microorganisms
2. Toxic biological substances
3. Biological allergens
4. Blood and cell lines, or
5. Any combination of the above.

Important information regarding the classification and handling of biohazardous materials can be found in the following CDC publication:
Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, 5th Edition

Institutional Biosafety Committees (IBCs) and the NIH Office of Biotechnology Activities (OBA) are partners in promoting the safe conduct of recombinant DNA research through compliance with the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules (NIH Guidelines). An IBC provides local oversight in assessing the appropriate containment for recombinant DNA research; reviewing the adequacy of facilities, procedures, practices and investigator training; and ensuring adherence to Appendix M of the NIH Guidelines, which outlines the requirements associated with human gene transfer protocols. You may review these responsibilities by accessing the NIH Guidelines on-line at: http://oba.od.nih.gov/rdna/nih_guidelines_oba.html

The Chair of the IBC or a designated committee member will complete a preliminary review of the proposal to determine if there is a need for full committee review. An Action Report will be issued to the PI following initial review.

In response to the growing concern about the possible use of biological, chemical, and radioactive materials as agents for terrorism, guidelines were developed by the CDC which address laboratory security issues (e.g., preventing unauthorized entry to laboratory areas and preventing unauthorized removal of dangerous biological agents from the laboratory). These guidelines should be reviewed by all individuals using biological agents or toxins capable of causing serious or fatal illness to humans or animals. More information can be found in the following CDC publication:
Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, 5th Edition

University of Rhode Island Select Agent Policy and Procedures

National concerns in regarding the security and possession of select agents prompted the passage of the Public Health Security and Bio-terrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, signed into law on 12 June 2002. Regulations implementing this act became effective on February 7, 2003. The regulations include many new provisions such as:

1). a revised list of select agents;
2). submission of the names of individuals with access to select agents to the Department of Justice for background checks;
3). development of bio-security and bio-safety plans for entities wanting to use select agents for research; significant record keeping (including inventories and those accessing select agents) and training.
4). registration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to possess the select agents;
5). significant record keeping (including inventories and those accessing select agents) and training.

CDC Select Agent Program: Includes links to Select Agent regulations (42 CFR 73) as required by the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, Public Law 107-188, and the USA Patriot Act, Public Law 107-56.

IBC Homepage (return)

 

Related Links:

NIH Guidelines for rDNA

Risk Group Classification for Infectious Agents

University of Rhode Island Safety and Risk Management

 

Compliance Quick Links

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