Biological Safety

Biohazards are infectious agents or hazardous biological materials that present a risk or potential risk to the health of humans, animals, or the environment.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) guideline, Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) uses the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations for an agent risk group classification for laboratory use that describes four general risk group requirements for each biosafety level of containment.  Only BSL1 and 2 agents are permitted to be used at UNC Asheville.

Cell cultures known to contain an infectious agent or oncogenic virus should be manipulated at the Biosafety Level appropriate for the agent, usually BSL-2.

For activities with materials not known to contain infectious agents, the following hazard classification applies:

BSL-1 is appropriate for well-established lines of cells of sub-primate origin if they do not harbor a primate virus and are free of bacteria, fungi, and mycoplasma.  However, working with these materials at BSL-2 is recommended because of the additional degree of protection from contamination provided by BSL-2 practices, particularly the use of a Biological Safety Cabinet.

BSL-2 is appropriate for activities with: all primate cell lines, even well-established ones, all cells derived from primate lymphoid or tumor tissues; all primate tissue; all human clinical material*; and cells exposed to or transformed by a primate oncogenic virus.

*These activities and the use of any cells purposely infected with or suspected of harboring agents defined as bloodborne pathogens are covered by the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. Laboratories using human cell strains (non transformed cells) propagated from primary explants must also comply with the Standard because they are considered “unfixed human tissue” which is covered by the regulation.

Microbiology Teaching and Research Labs: Biosafety Level 1 (BSL1)

All Microbiology Teaching and Research Labs follow The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) guidelines for BSL1 agents.

Microbiology Research Labs: Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2)

All BSL2 Research Labs follow The American Society for Microbiology (ASM) guidelines for BSL2 agents. BSL2 research must be approved by The Laboratory Safety Committee.

Biohazardous Waste