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The Biological Safety Division is an integral part of the NYU Office of Environment, Health and Safety (EHS). Our goals are to minimize the health risk of those who are involved in research using biohazardous materials; minimize the risk to the NYU community and environment; and meet regulatory requirements. Our department is responsible for assisting the NYU community in implementing university workplace environment, health and safety policies while complying with applicable federal, state, and local regulations and guidelines.

Biosafety Alert

2013-2014 Influenza Season
What You Should Know for the 2013-2014 Influenza Season, from the CDC.

How to protect yourself

Hand Hygiene PowerPoint (PPT)
A quick power point on appropriate hand hygiene.

Hand Washing Poster (PDF)

Biosafety Cabinets

EHS maintains a contract for the annual service and maintenance of all biosafety cabinets at the University. If you have questions, require non-routine service, want to incorporate new equipment into the contract, or need help selecting appropriate equipment, please contact us.

The Baker Company has developed a wide variety of biological safety cabinets designed to meet diverse applications in the life science, clinical, pharmaceutical and industrial laboratory. More information on the purpose and classification of cabinets can be found here.

National Institute of Health CDC Information on the Selection, Installation and Use of BSC (PDF).

Bloodborne Pathogens

NYU's Bloodborne Pathogens (BBP) Exposure Control Program (PDF) applies to all NYU employees, or individuals, such as NYU students or volunteers, who perform functions of employees, who could potentially be expected to come into contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) including, but not limited to, unfixed human tissues, blood and tissues of experimental animals, saliva in dental procedures, or regulated medical waste.

NYU's BBP Exposure Control Program was developed to address and mitigate any potential exposure and provides details about the types of pahtogens that can be transmitted in blood and the precautions that should be taken to prevent exposure. The program also details the actions that should and will be taken in the event of an exposure.

As required by the Exposure Control Program, NYU conducts Bloodborne Pathogens Training annually for those covered by the program.

Laboratory Biosafety

The hazards posed by various microorgnisms and materials that may contain them and the appropriate procedures to address the are, by convention, classified into Biosafety Levels (BSL's). Detailed descriptions of each BSL's components and a comprehensive classification of microorganisms by their BSLs are provided in the CDC/NIH publication, Biofatey in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, (5th edition).

Biosafety Level 1 (BSL-1)

Biosafety Level 1 is suitable for work involving well-characterized agents not known to consistently cause disease in healthy adult humans, and of minimal potential hazard to laboratory personnel and the environment. The laboratory is not necessarily separated from the general traffic patterns in the building. Work is generally conducted on open bench tops using standard microbiological practices. Special containment equipment or facility design is neither required nor generally used. Laboratory personnel have specific training in the procedures conducted in the laboratory and are supervised by a scientist with general training in microbiology or a related science.

Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2)

Biosafety Level 2 is suitable for work involving agents of moderate potential hazard to personnel and the environment. It differs from BSL-1 in that (1) laboratory personnel have specific training in handling pathogenic agents and are directed by competent scientists; (2) access to the laboratory is limited when work is being conducted; (3) extreme precautions are taken with contaminated sharp items; and (4) certain procedures in which infectious aerosols or splashes may be created are conducted in biological safety cabinets or other physical containment equipment. BSL-2 procedures are applicable to human blood, body fluids, unfixed tissues, and human and non-human primate cell lines.

Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3)

Biosafety Level 3 is applicable to clinical, diagnostic, teaching, research, or production facilities in which work is done with indigenous or exotic agents which may cause serious or potentially lethal disease as a result of exposure by the inhalation route. Laboratory personnel have specific training in handling pathogenic and potentially lethal agents, and are supervised by competent scientists who are experienced in working with these agents.

Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4)

Biosafety Level 4 is required for work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections and life-threatening disease.

Laboratories that use potentially infectious materials on the NYU Washington Square Campus operate at BSL-1 or -2.

Recombinant DNA

All research that involves recombinant DNA must be conducted in accordance with the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules.

All research involving recombinant DNA (including research that is exempt from the NIH Guidelines) shall require registration with IBC.

Select Agents

The Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture have listed certain biological agents and toxins which are considered to pose a threat to public health and could possibly be used as bioterrorism agents. These biological agents and toxins, more often referred to as "Select Agents", are heavily regulated and any possession or research use of such materials must be registered with the DHHS or USDA. Click here (PDF) for a detailed list of these regulated materials.

For further information on the regulations governing these materials go to the following sites:

Shipping and Receiving Biological Materials

Anyone shipping or receiving potentially hazardous materials such as: infectious substances, diagnostic specimens, genetically modified microorganisms, potentially hazardous biological materials, and/or dry ice, is required to have International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Department of Transportation (DOT) training in the general requirements of the regulations. This training must to be repeated every two years as long as you are shipping and receiving such materials.

Those receiving hazardous materials are obligated to recognize if any release of contents has occurred during shipping and, if such an incident be suspected, contact EHS or Public Saftey.

Training in the shipment of biological materials and dry ice is offered as part of Environmental Health and Safety's regularly scheduled monthly laboratory safety program throughout the academic year. Ad hoc training may be obtained by contacting EHS. The University of New Hampshire has developed a shipping guide for Biological Materials, dry ice and related material. These guides can be found here.

If you need to transport non-biological hazardous materials please contact Environmental Health & Safety for instructions.


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