The Biological Safety Program enforces regulations to ensure safe operation of biological research laboratories in the City of Boston.
The following biological research laboratories operating, or proposing to operate, in Boston must get an annual operating permit from the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC):
- Labs operating at biosafety level 3 and above: BSL-3/ABSL-3, BSL-4/ABSL-4
- Labs working with recombinant DNA (rDNA) materials at biosafety level 2 (BSL-2/ABSL-2) and above.
The Biological Safety Program administers this permitting. It also leads the Boston Biosafety Committee oversight advisory group and coordinates internal and external multidisciplinary teams. This program ensures safe operations in Boston’s biological research laboratories. Use the resources on this page to better understand the permitting process.
For more information, contact us:
Forms, Checklists, and GuidelinesForms, Checklists, and Guidelines
All biosafety permit applications are submitted and managed online through our secure system. Please contact the Biosafety Program at 617-534-5965 or email@example.com for information on the system and to set up an account. Note that other local and state regulations also govern laboratories. Please see below for details of these other requirements.
Boston Fire Department
Boston Inspectional Services Department
Current BPHC Regulations
- Biological Laboratory Regulations Implementation & Enforcement Guidelines (As of October 15, 2019)
- Biological Laboratory Regulations (As of January 16, 2019)
- Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) - 6th Edition, CDC/NIH
- NIH Guidelines For Research Involving Recombinant Or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules (NIH Guidelines)
- OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard (29 CFR 1910.1030)
- OSHA Laboratory Standard (29 CFR 1910.1450). Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories
- OSHA Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200)
- Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS): 42 CFR Parts 72 and 73 (Possession, use, and transfer of select agents and toxins; final rule)
- Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS): 7 CFR Part 331 and 9 CFR Part 121 (Possession, use, and transfer of biological agents and toxins; final rule)
If a reportable laboratory incident occurs, call the BPHC Infectious Disease Bureau IMMEDIATELY at 617-534-5611. Then call the BPHC Environmental Health Office at 617-534-5965 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Reportable laboratory incident reports should be submitted through the online secure permit system. However, the incident report form can be downloaded here. Fill out the form and fax it to BPHC 617-534-5905, if you cannot access the online permit system.
These checklists are based on the CDC/NIH Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL, 6th Edition), NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant or Synthetic Nucleic Acid Molecules, and the BPHC's regulations.
Training, Presentations, and ResourcesTraining, Presentations, and Resources
- DelValle Institute for Emergency Preparedness Boston Medical Reserve Corps: Introduction to Biological Hazards Response, March 2015
- Boston Tattoo Convention Bloodborne Pathogen training
- Boston Biosafety Users' Group (BBUG) Meeting: Revised Guidelines: Biological Laboratory Regulations, October 2019
- New England Biological Safety Association (NEBSA) 2018 Biological Safety Symposium: Permitting Process of Biosafety Level 4 Facility: A Regulator's View, November 2018
- American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) 2014 Annual Conference: International Session: A Review of the Current Infectious Agent Registration Process in Boston, Rhode Island, Canada and the UK, October 2014
- Campus Safety Health and Environmental Management Association (CSHEMA) Massachusetts Regional Conference: City of Boston Biological Safety Regulations and Laboratory Oversight, October 2014
- Middle Atlantic Regional Center of Excellence for Biodenfenses and Emerging Infectious Diseases and the Center for Health and Homeland Security conference on Laboratory Safety. Security and Preparedness in the Evolving Era of Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC): Panelist and presentation of City of Boston regulations, February 2014
- Boston Biosafety Users Group: Summary of Boston Public Health Commission Biosafety Program 2012 Data, February 2012
- Boston Biosafety Users Group: Boston Municipal Requirements for Biocontainment Laboratories, January 2012