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By Joseph A. D'Alù
Emergency Preparedness Article Use Policy
Additional bio-safety standards exist that relate to laboratory design and to the transferring or receiving of potentially dangerous "select agents."
While not adopted by every municipality in its pure form, the International Mechanical Code (IMC 2009) expresses clear technical requirements related to laboratory design in general, which reflect directly upon the level of quality of any BSL3 facility.
Section 510 particularly describes the methodologies for addressing hazardous exhaust. It defines hazardous exhaust as 1) exhaust conveying flammable vapors; 2) effluent with a health hazard rating greater than four as described by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA); or 3) a vapor, gas, or fume with a health hazard rating of 1, 2, 3 present in concentrations greater than 1 percent of a lethal inhalation toxicity.
The pertinent facility design requirements include:
In April 1997, legislation was adopted at the federal level to set guidelines for the transferring or receiving of "select agents," defined as those with a potential to pose serious or severe threat to public health and safety. After 9/11 that mission became even clearer as both the Patriot Act (2001) and the Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act (2002) demanded oversight for all handling of select agents in the U.S. The result was the creation of the Select Agent Program (SAP), which is administered nationally by the CDC.
SAP not only manages the locations of and personnel certified to handle select agents but it also executes annual inspections of facilities authorized to have select agents on site. This annual certification is based upon many of the other industry standards, but SAP also enhances some of those requirements in ways important to facility systems design and operation. Two critical enhanced requirements are:
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