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Laboratory safety may sound straightforward, but in reality it is supported by complex and ever-changing science. Safety standards and practices evolve as scientists learn more about the materials they handle regularly. Today, more than 2000 laboratory scientists in more than 150 labs at CDC work with specimens to identify new health threats, stop outbreaks, and gain new knowledge. Laboratory work saves lives and protects people. Though this work is critical, it is not without risk. Labs are often working with the deadliest germs, toxins, and environmental hazards in the world.

A strong culture of laboratory safety helps the world-class scientists at CDC work in the safest possible environment, but no one is perfect. As new information becomes available, safety practices must change to remain up to date and relevant. Every lab is different. Effective safety practices in one lab may not be successful in another. Labs must stay organized, developing their own internal quality controls to provide safety and security for their scientists and for the public.

In this session of Public Health Grand Rounds, our panel discussed how standards of laboratory safety have improved over the years, what we’ve learned from past incidents, and how establishing safety protocols and training systems can lead to an overall culture of workplace safety, resulting in continued public trust in our science and recommendations.

Presented By

Stephan Monroe, PhD
Associate Director, Laboratory Science and Safety
Office of the Associate Director for Laboratory Science and Safety, CDC
Conrad P. Quinn, PhD
Chief, Meningitis and Vaccine Preventable Diseases Branch
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC
Joseph Kanabrocki, PhD, NRCM(SM)
Professor of Microbiology
University of Chicago

Facilitated By

John Iskander, MD, MPH
Scientific Director
Phoebe Thorpe, MD, MPH
Deputy Scientific Director
Susan Laird, MSN, RN
Communications Director

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  • Page last reviewed: February 28, 2018
  • Page last updated: February 28, 2018
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Science
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication
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