From: Bruce Van Scoy <bvanscoy**At_Symbol_Here**TWC.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Working safely with cancer cells
Date: Tue, 17 May 2016 20:57:06 -0400
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: 000c01d1b0a0$32e55000$98aff000$**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To <579eda819f1a4a66a4795073ca4d0268**At_Symbol_Here**MBOX-01.FLAS.CSI.CUNY.EDU>


Here is a quick side-point regarding the implementation of effective engineering controls, see the link below and at least read the introduction (pgs. 1-8) and note that in most cases a exposure event or the route of exposure could not be defined.  Please consider the incident rates as a reflection of past exposures/incidents.  Maybe the exposures occurred due to the lack of adequate engineering controls used during aerosol generating activities of BSL 2 Labs?  But that is just a hypothesis..  Here are a few questions for you to consider.  What is the latency period for developing cancer from a workplace exposure?  How is that determined, when NIOSH is asked to investigate a cancer cluster?  Please see  Here is the question, should the industrial hygiene hierarchy of controls and/or standard chemical hygiene and laboratory practice be reduced based upon their concept of trivializing or proof? 

I’m just asking.

Bruce V..               

P.S.  I suggest focusing upon the science of what has been proven or disproven over the term of a working lifetime.  You may want to ask the scientists what opinions their respective opinions are based upon human exposure data, animal testing, test-tube results or gut feelings based upon education, stress the variations in significance/variance of these testing methods and then ask if they are still willing to eat the cultures.  Sounds like you have enrollees in a controlled trial group, but I may be mistaken. 



From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of James Saccardo
Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 3:41 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Working safely with cancer cells


Good Afternoon, Here is a question for the list serve –

More and more laboratories are using cancer cells. The body of evidence states that you can not get cancer from touching or even eating a HeLa cell or some other cancerous cell from another species, but I am not sure that I can just swallow that without any reasoning. Anyone have an opinion or reasoning regarding contracting cancer from a cancer cell culture?


A cancerous cell has been changed by some virus that is no longer present and the cancer cell is not able to re assemble the virus or affect the genome of another cell.

Does anyone have any references for working with cancer cells? Does working with these cells require anything more than BLS-1 or BSL-2? Must these be deactivated before discarding?

If anyone has any thoughts or resources regarding working with HeLa or other human and animal cancer cell lines above and beyond what you would do with normal healthy cells, I am listening. Some staff seems to be trivializing this and I am not sure that I agree, I am looking for some reinforcement (on their opinion or mine) and any references or resources in regards to working with cancer cell lines in the lab.


James Saccardo, MS, CHMM

The College of Staten Island

Office of Environmental Health and Safety



“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

                                             Benjamin Franklin

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