NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
General considerations for work practices and personal protective equipment in biotechnology industries.
Martinez-KF; Elliott-LJ; Jones-JH
Bioprocessing safety: worker and community safety and health considerations. Hyer WC Jr., ed. Philadelphia, PA: American Society for Testing and Materials, 1990 Jan; :83-90
Hazards involved in working in the biotechnology industries regarding possible exposures to microorganisms were considered. Conventional enzyme fermentation process facilities, developing recombinant DNA facilities, and the large scale application of a microbial pesticide were discussed. In the first case, the enzyme fermentation process facilities, microorganisms were used to convert a substrate into a desired product such as an enzyme. Workers may be exposed to the microorganism during three specific stages of the process: seed growth, fermentation, and product recovery. During seed growth, exposure may occur during the transfer of stock cultures into shaker flasks and the biochemical analysis of broth samples from the seed and fermentor tanks. At the facilities studied, the use of personal protective equipment was relegated to work with hazardous chemicals and not usually employed as a protector against microbial or product exposures. In the recombinant DNA facilities, the types of processes encountered were similar to those in the enzyme fermentation process facilities. There was an apparent lack of worker adherence to proper laboratory practice due to the inability of those in charge to support the safety requirements. The application of the microbial pesticide Bacillus-thuringiensis was observed in Portland, Oregon. The monitoring conducted during applications in 1985 and 1986 indicated that the general public and all the workers were exposed. The general public exposure levels ranged from nondetectable to 1,600 colony forming units/cubic meter (CFU/m3) of air. Worker exposures ranged from nondetectable to 11,000CFU/cubic meter. No safety precautions were in place at the time of the study.
Recombinant-DNA; Industrial-hygiene; Pesticides; Occupational-exposure; Laboratory-workers; Pharmaceutical-industry; Personal-protective-equipment; Biotechnology-industry
Bioprocessing safety: worker and community safety and health considerations
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division