The Institutional Biosafety Program compiled a list of frequently asked questions. These questions and responses are provided as a guidance to the biomedical research community.
- I have a biological safety cabinet that needs to be discarded, moved/relocated, or repaired. Is decontamination required? If so, what would be an acceptable process?
For a biological safety cabinet to be discarded, moved/relocated, or repaired, it must be decontaminated using a gas/vapor method by a qualified vendor. Biological Safety Cabinet certification vendors provide this service. Please see a list below of some companies:
Please also see the hyperlink to the Equipment Decontamination Form. In conjunction with vendor’s decontamination record, a completed Equipment Decontamination Form will indicate to the movers that the equipment is safe to handle. The Biological Safety Program can sign off on the form once completed.
The filters in my biological safety cabinet was recently replaced and the used filters needed to be disposed. What steps should I take?
For BSC internal filters, disposal as either red bag waste or standard trash would be appropriate. Per NSF/ANSI 49, HEPA/ULPA filters from BSCs that have been decontaminated (i.e. via applicable gas or vapor method) may be safety buried in a sanitary landfill because they no longer pose a hazard. NSF/ANSI 49 is an international and American consensus standard for biological safety cabinets.
- My biological safety cabinet need initial or annual certification. What steps should I take to complete?
Laboratories and/or departments would need to coordinate certification of biosafety cabinets directly with a vendor.
Please see a list of vendors that provide biosafety cabinet certification services. In general, please ensure the company provides a NSF accredited technician to certify your lab’s BSC.
- What must be disposed in sharps container vs. a red bag waste container?
- Solid waste contaminated with biological material must be disposed via red bag (non-sharp) or sharps container (sharps).
- Sharps containers are for the disposal of sharps waste; these are items that have the potential to cut, puncture, scratch, or abrade skin. Examples include serological pipettes, Pasteur pipettes, pipette tips, needles, blades, microscope slides/coverslips, and contaminated glassware (broken or unbroken).
- Red bags are for the disposal of non-sharps solid waste contaminated with biological materials. Examples include Kimwipes, pads, gloves, and intact plastic ware contaminated with biological materials.
- Note: No sharps or glass (including unbroken) can be disposed in a red bag. This can pose a safety issue and lead to potential exposure and injury.
- What biological waste requires decontamination before disposal?
- Please see the attached document “Cell / Tissue Culture Waste Disposal Guide for Laboratories”. It discusses decontamination and disposal for solid biological waste.
- Solid waste contaminated with infectious agents or recombinant/synthetic nucleic acid molecule vectors designated for BSL2 (or higher) containment require decontamination before disposal.
- Decontamination of solid waste can be achieved either via autoclaving or chemical disinfection.
- All liquid biological waste (i.e. all biosafety levels) must be decontaminated prior to drain disposal. Chemical disinfection with bleach requires at least 10% concentration in the total volume (9 parts water/waste solution to 1 part bleach). A minimum of 30 minutes contact time with bleach is needed prior to drain disposal with copious amounts of water. Waste with heavy organic loads would need a higher concentration of bleach and additional contact time.
- How do I acquire red bags and sharps containers (regulated medical waste [RMW] supplies)?
- Sharps containers are provided by Building Services via Stericycle. Sharps containers are available in 8 gallon or 17 gallon size.
- Red bag waste containers are normally acquired by the laboratory from a vendor (e.g. Fisher, VWR, Grainger, ULine). See below for examples.
- (Select “Red” as color): https://www.grainger.com/search/cleaning-and-janitorial/waste-recycling-trash-supplies/trash-recycling-containers-accessories/trash-cans/step-trash-cans
- Standard red bags (preprinted with Mount Sinai name and address) are provided by Building Services.
- Autoclave bags can be acquired by the laboratory from a vendor (e.g. Fisher, VWR).
- Do you have recommendations for the following personal protective equipment (PPE)?
- Cold-Resistant Gloves
- Disposable Sleeves
- Face Shield
- Flame-Resistant Lab Coat
- Heat-Resistant Gloves
- Heavy Rubber Gloves
- Shoe Covers
- Surgical masks
- Example (Use googles with indirect ventilation for splash hazards [liquid]): https://www.fishersci.com/shop/products/kimberly-clark-professional-jackson-saftey-v80-sg34-chemical-splash-goggles-2/p-3203185#
- Example (Cryo-gloves): https://www.fishersci.com/shop/products/cryogloves-elbow/nc944884
- Example: https://www.fishersci.com/shop/products/nitritex-bioclean-d-sterile-long-sleeve-cover/19668340#
- (Disposable): https://www.fishersci.com/shop/products/fisherbrand-disposable-faceshields-3/p-4938086#
- (Reusable, e.g. use when working with liquid nitrogen or when autoclaving liquids): https://www.fishersci.com/shop/products/oberon-face-fit-chemical-resistant-faceshields-4/p-94189
- Example: https://www.fishersci.com/shop/products/workrite-flame-resistant-lab-coats-16/p-4844477#
- (Autoclave Gloves): https://www.fishersci.com/shop/products/bel-art-scienceware-clavies-autoclave-gloves-2/p-144199#
- (Heavy Rubber Gloves): https://www.fishersci.com/shop/products/ansell-tan-rubber-gloves-7/p-138657#
- Example (please note that these are surgical masks and not respirators): https://www.fishersci.com/shop/products/kimberly-clark-soft-touch-ii-surgical-mask/189994819#