We have a similar program at UC Davis where I review animal use protocols at the request of the IACU C office. It’s a web-based protocol management program so it’s easy for me to communicate with the IACUC folks and for them to communicate my concerns to the PI. All of my comments and questio ns go through the IACUC as they are the office of record.
Hope this helps. If you’d like to chat further, happy to.
Debbie M. Decker, Campus Ch
emical Safety Officer
Environmental Health and Safety
University of California, Davis
1 Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616
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Our Biosafety Officer and Lab Safety Officer review all proposed animal use protocols wherein resear ch animals are treated with chemicals or other hazardous agents. We have provided all researchers with a description of ̶ 0;standard precautions” which they may check on their protocol form if they think no extra precautionary measures are needed for the work beyond standard lab and animal care PPE and handling protocols. If they are using agents that require protective methods beyond the standa rd, they must submit an appendix to the animal care protocol (we’ll h elp them write this) describing the extra precautions needed, eg. work only in a BSC or fume hood, special PPE, special practices or disposal steps, certain types of posting, extra training or s upervision, emergency response procedures.
Often the researchers bel ieve standard precautions are adequate and we do not. Then we ask the m to “beef up” their protocols and tell them how and why.   ; They have to do this to get approval of the animal use in their experiments by the IACUC.
These reviews take some t
ime because we have to research the hazards related to the particular agent
s. We look at degree of toxicity, method of administration,
number of doses, amount likely to be excreted in bedding (if known), lengt
h of treatment, number of animals, as well as work practices and potential
for injury or exposure…in other words we perform a risk assessment.
This program has worked p retty well for us. It’s time consuming, but we have much better protection of our workers, in particular our animal care staff, than we once did. Researchers tend to ignore what happens after they walk away from the rat. If they are asked to think about the ultimate fat e of a chemical injected IP or subcutaneously in a rat, they simply say tha t the doses are small (rats are small, right?) so small amounts of chemicals could not possible effect humans (even thoug h they are used in the experiment to have a biological effect and many rats are injected at once, perhaps for days or weeks).
I hope this helps.
Janice Dodge span>
Laboratory Safety Officer
Florida State University
I am trying to get information from peer institutions about how they manage worker safety in regard to exposure to c hemicals administered to lab animals. Does anyone have any expertise in this issue?
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