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Biosafety-Related Links

The following are a number of useful links to Web-hosted resources that provide biosafety-related information:

American Biological Safety Association (ABSA). This organization promotes biosafety as a scientific discipline and serves the growing needs of biosafety professionals. Its goals are to represent the interests and needs of practitioners of biological safety, and to provide a forum for the continued and timely exchange of biosafety in formation.

ABSA Biosafety Links provides links to a wealth of biosafety information.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Select Agent Registry (NSAR) allows users to view current regulations regarding select agents, download application packages, and access additional resource information. The NSAR program oversees the activities of possession of biological agents and toxins that have the potential to pose a severe threat to public, animal or plant health, or to animal or plant product.

CDC Office of Health and Safety - Biosafety Information provides links to regulations, publications, guidelines, information sheets, and standards. Of particular note, it provides the document "Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL)" 5th Edition. The BMBL can be found in two accessible formats:

Major changes from the 4th to 5th editions of the BMBL are summarized in a Differences Report.

DOE Directives, Regulations, and Standards Portal Home Page provides links to DOE Directives. These are official communications of policies, requirements and procedures, including those related to biosafety and emergency response.

DOE P 434.1A Conduct and Approval of Select Agent and Toxin Work at DOE Sites. This DOE policy provides expectations for the establishment and operation of DOE research laboratories utilizing select agents and toxins.

DOE Report on Inspection of Activities Involving Biological Select Agents. This February 2001 report documents an inspection that looked at whether the DOE had implemented appropriate environment, safety, and health measures regarding the possession and use of biological select agents and select agent materials. Major changes were made at DOE laboratories in response to this report.

EBSA - European BioSafety Association. This organization is committed to enhancing the knowledge and understanding of biological safety issues throughout Europe. It strives to establish and communicate best practices amongst its members and to encourage dialogue and discussions on developing biosafety and biosecurity issues. EBSA will seek to influence and support emerging legislation and standards in the areas of biological safety, biosecurity, biotechnology, transport and associated activities and will act as a focal point for the consolidation of views on these issues. The Association has individual members, representing over 15 countries in Europe, as well as other regions.

GAO Observations on the Oversight of the Proliferation of BSL-3 and -4 Laboratories. This report by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) provides preliminary observations on the oversight of the proliferation of high containment biosafety laboratories (BSL-3 and BSL-4) in the United States.

GAO Call for National Strategy for Oversight of High-Contaminant Laboratories. In this 2009 report, the GAO recommends that the National Security Advisor identify a single entity to be charged with government-wide strategic evaluation of high-containment laboratories.  It also recommends that the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Agriculture address specific oversight issues regarding high-containment laboratories.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Research Services.
This site provides links to information on biological safety & compliance, safety & health training, safety resources and other helpful information.

National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) Biosafety Cabinetry provides information on programs, policies, and standards related to cabinetry used to safety store biological materials.

OSHA Infectious Dose White Paper. In this paper, the ABSA addresses a request from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration )SHA) to assess whether infectious doses for organisms could be defined in such a way to potentially develop permissible exposure levels to those infectious agents.

10 CFR 851 Worker Safety and Health Program provides links to information on DOE’s requirements for worker safety and health. Of particular interest are the biosafety aspects of this program.

Great Lakes Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense: Emergency Response Overview presents information on how their Emergency Response Network provides aid during an outbreak related to emerging infectious diseases or an act of bioterrorism.

Public Health Agency of Canada: MSDS for Infectious Substances presents Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for infectious substances. The MSDSs contain health hazard information such as infectious dose, viability (including decontamination), medical information, laboratory hazard, recommended precautions, handling information, and spill procedures.

U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) provides information on medical solutions—vaccines, drugs, diagnostics, and information—to protect our service members from biological threats. One useful product is the Blue book on the Medical Management of Biological Casualties.

White House -- Executive Order -- Optimizing the Security of Biological Select Agents and Toxins in the United States. On July 2, 2010, the White House issued an Executive Order that directs federal agencies to institute changes in the current implementation of the Select Agent Program and Regulations within their existing statutory authorities.  One key element of the Order is that it puts the most dangerous of the 82 select agents and toxins into a high-risk category.  These agents and toxins will require tighter physical security measures including more rigorous security screening for researchers working with these agents.

White House -- Executive Order 13486 – Strengthening Laboratory Biosecurity in the United States. This Executive Order establishes the policy that facilities in the U.S. that possess biological select agents and toxins have appropriate security to protect against theft, misuse, or diversion.    

Working Group Report on Strengthening Laboratory Biosecurity in the United States. This working group report discusses the status of, and need to strengthen laboratory biosecurity.   This report reviews the effectiveness of current laws, guidance, and practices and it makes recommendations for changes.

World at Risk. The Report of the Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism. This reports emphasizes the need to limit the proliferation of biological weapons and reduce the risk of bioterror attack.

World Health Organization's (WHO) Laboratory Biosafety Manual provides the Introduction to the WHO's Laboratory Biosafety Manual (third edition, 2004). Other sections of this manual are available through the following links:

WHO's Biorisk Management: Laboratory Biosecurity Guidance. This 2006 WHO document provides detailed guidance on biosecurity within a biological laboratory and addresses its basic principles and best practices. This document expands on topics initially presented in World Health Organization (WHO) Laboratory Biosafety Manual.

Pertinent Department of Defense Biosafety Regulations include: