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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Safety: Biosafety Level Descriptions
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Biosafety Level Descriptions

(adapted from Manual 230 - updated: 12/05/2005)


The National Biosafety Officer in the ARS Homeland Security Office administers the ARS Biological Safety Program.  The purpose of this program is to prevent or minimize employee exposure or the accidental release to the environment of hazardous biological agents through the promotion of safe laboratory practices, procedures, and proper use of containment and facilities by REE employees, students, visitors, cooperators, and contractors. 

There are three relevant Biosafety Levels:  BSL-1, BSL-2 and BSL-3.  ARS agency policy, as assigned by NPI program staff, has adopted a policy that all ARS facilities (including Non-ARS facilities where our scientists are physically at site) shall operate at a minimum BSL-2 practice level. 

Additional references materials include the following:

              USDA Safety and Health Manual 230.0

              USDA Directive 9610-001, "USDA Security Policies and Procedures for Biosafety Level 3 Facilities"

              USDA Directive 9610-002, "USDA Security Policies and Procedures for Laboratories and Technical Facilities (Excluding Biosafety Level (BSL)-3 Facilities)" 

              Agricultural Bioterrism Protection Act of 2002

             ARS 242.1 Manual, Chapter 9, "Biohazard Containment Design"



Last Modified: 3/12/2010
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