In light of recent biosafety practice lapses at the Centers for Disease Control and on the campus of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), September has been declared National Biosafety Stewardship Month.
All NIH laboratories will, and all institutions such as Texas Tech that receive NIH funding are encouraged to:
- Reexamine current policies and procedures for biosafety practices
- Conduct inventories of infectious agents, toxins and other biological materials
- Reinforce biosafety training
This Stewardship Month gives Texas Tech researchers a good opportunity to ensure that any “orphaned” pathogens, toxins or other biological samples no longer in use have been removed safely from freezers and cold rooms.
Texas Tech’s Institutional Biosafety and Laboratory Safety Committees are working not only with laboratories that have biological safety protocols on campus, but also with other labs that may work with pathogens and toxins. If your lab possesses human or agricultural pathogens or biological toxins, please consider whether or not the materials are still needed for research. If not, the materials should be sterilized or deactivated and disposed of according to the Texas Tech University Biosafety Manual.
If materials are discovered that cannot be sterilized on-site and need to be removed, please contact the Department of Environmental Health and Safety at (806) 742-3876 to have the materials disposed of properly.