Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 6th Edition

At a glance

Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) has served as the cornerstone of biosafety practice in the United States since its initial release in 1984.

BMBL Foreword

We wish to emphasize that the sixth edition of BMBL remains an advisory document recommending best practices for the safe conduct of work in biomedical and clinical laboratories from a biosafety perspective. The BMBL is not intended to be a regulatory document, although we recognize that some may use it in that way. The core principle of this document is protocol-driven risk assessment; it is not possible for a single document to identify all of the possible combinations of risks and mitigations feasible in biomedical and clinical laboratories. The BMBL should be used as a tool in the assessment and proposed mitigation steps in biomedical and clinical laboratories.

This edition of BMBL includes revised sections, agent summary statements, and appendices. We harmonized the recommendations included in this edition with guidance issued and regulations promulgated by other organizations and federal agencies. Wherever possible, we clarified both the language and intent of the information provided. In order to serve the needs of our community better, this edition includes new appendices on the following topics: inactivation and verification; laboratory sustainability; large-scale biosafety; and clinical laboratory biosafety.

Over 200 of our scientific and professional colleagues contributed to the preparation of the sixth edition through participation in technical working groups and serving as reviewers, guest editors, and subject matter experts. We wish to thank them all for their dedication and hard work. Without them, the sixth edition of BMBL would not be possible. We also recognize the hard work and contributions made by all who participated in preparation of the previous editions of BMBL; we have built on their solid work and commitment.

It would have been impossible to publish this revision without recognizing the visionary leadership of the previous BMBL editors—Drs. John Richardson, W. Emmett Barkley, Jonathan Richmond, Robert W. McKinney, Casey Chosewood, and Deborah Wilson—without whom the BMBL would not be the respected resource it is today. The Steering Committee members, Drs. Christy Myrick, Richard G. Baumann, Margy Lambert, Patricia Delarosa, and Theresa Lawrence, were instrumental in identifying authors, selecting additions to this edition, and reviewing submissions. Their significant contribution to this edition is sincerely appreciated. Dr. Robbin Weyant contributed significantly to the final editing and production efforts.

We are truly grateful to Ms. Shaina Mangino and Dr. Mallory Pomales of Eagle Medical Services, LLC for their expertise and patience in assisting us with this undertaking. Their superb organizational and editing skills were critical in the creation of this document.

We hope you find the sixth edition of Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories complete, timely, and most of all, easy to use. Thank you for your patience and understanding during the long and comprehensive revision process.

Brandon Hatcher, PhD, RBP, CBSP (ABSA)

Director, Office of Laboratory Safety

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Atlanta, GA

Paul J. Meechan, PhD, MPH, RBP, CBSP (ABSA)


Jeffrey Potts, MPH, CBSP (ABSA)

Chief, Biorisk Management Branch

Division of Occupational Health and Safety

National Institutes of Health

Bethesda, MD

CDC partners with the U.S. National Institutes of Health to publish biosafety guidelines for protecting workers and preventing exposures in biological laboratories. In addition to the partnership with CDC and world-renowned organizations, CDC produces online training and offers other downloadable resources that may be useful to laboratorians nationally, or around the world.

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