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Health hazard evaluation report: HETA-2004-0081-3002, New York University School of Medicine, New York City, New York.

King B
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, HETA 2004-0081-3002, 2006 Jun; :1-12
On December 19, 2003, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) received a request for a health hazard evaluation (HHE) from the Department of Environmental and Occupational Safety and Health at the New York University School of Medicine in New York City, New York. The request cited concerns regarding potential employee exposure to aerosolized Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) in an animal biosafety level 3 (ABSL3) laboratory. Specific activities of concern included aerosolizing M. tuberculosis, caretaking of infected mice, using a cryostat to cut infected tissue, and manipulating infected tissue in ways that could generate aerosols. On May 19-21, 2004, investigators from NIOSH conducted a site visit to the facility. Area air samples were collected in the laboratory for airborne M. tuberculosis. Information was gathered and observations were made regarding the personal protective equipment (PPE) used by employees in the laboratory, as well as the current medical surveillance programs in place. Smoke tubes were used to verify the pressure relationships between the rooms of the laboratory. The NIOSH investigators concluded that a health hazard did not exist from exposure to M. tuberculosis. The work practices and procedures provide a high level of protection against potential occupational exposure to M. tuberculosis. No evidence was collected that suggested the M. tuberculosis was being aerosolized outside of contained, controlled chambers. Recommendations are made to continue current safety practices and work procedures and to maintain a schedule of regular maintenance on the laboratory's ventilation system.
Region-2; Hazard-Unconfirmed; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Respiratory-protection; Respiratory-system-disorders; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Infectious-diseases; Infection-control; Ventilation; Laboratory-workers; Laboratories; Author Keywords: Medical Laboratories; TB; M. tuberculosis; infectious aerosol; biosafety; laboratory; ventilation; personal protective equipment
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Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: February 3, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division