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Animals and Hazardous Materials

Any research or instructional use of hazardous materials in live animals requires the submission of an Animal Use Protocol to the appropriate Animal Care and Use Committee. The Protocol must be fully approved before any researcher may acquire, house, or use animals.

IMPORTANT: With the increasing prevalence of animal testing, there comes a greater need to protect researchers. Consider both the direct hazards associated with research animals and the hazardous metabolic byproducts produced by research animals.

Animals and Toxic Chemicals

Animal research or testing with toxic chemicals (including known or suspected carcinogens) may produce aerosols, dusts, or metabolic byproducts that contain toxicants. The animal bedding, equipment, and surrounding atmosphere may become contaminated. When working with research animals and toxic chemicals, always wear gloves and button your laboratory coat. If aerosol production cannot be controlled, use a respirator and contact your components safety officer. Follow all instructions outlined in the approved Animal Use Protocol for handling these agents. A respirator with a HEPA filter will protect you from airborne particulates, but it will not protect you from chemical vapors. Wetting animal bedding before cleanup will help reduce aerosols.

Animals and Infectious Agents

Personnel performing animal research with infectious agents or working with animals that carry potential zoonoses must utilize isolation procedures. The extent of isolation must be appropriate for the infection risk. All work with these agents and animals that could shed these agents must be approved by the Institutional Biosafety Committee. Examples of zoonotic diseases that pose a hazard to humans include the following:

  • Brucellosis
  • Salmonellosis
  • Shigellosis
  • Pasteurellosis
  • Tularemia
  • Tuberculosis
  • Ringworm
  • Herpes B-virus
  • Rabies
  • Viral hepatitis
  • Q Fever


Conduct work with infectious agents according to good laboratory procedures and containment practices. For information on proper disposal methods, refer to the Biological Safety chapter in this manual.

Animals and Recombinant Genetic Materials

Animal research with recombinant DNA (rDNA) must be conducted in accordance with NIH guidelines and TAMUS-HSC requirements. Containment and disposition is a critical concern, all experiments involving rDNA or genetically altered animals (including recombinants, transgenics, and mosaics) must receive prior approval from the appropriate TAMUS Institutional Biosafety Committee.

Animals and Radioactive Materials

The component Radiation Safety Officer must approve the use of radioactive materials in animals. Authorization and permits to use radioisotopes must be acquired through the appropriate office or contact the Director of Administration. Always refer to your components Radiological Safety Manual for information.