Online Program

Case study: A comparison of murine allergen levels in two vivariums

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Emily Ranken, CIH, MIT EHS Office, MIT, Cambridge, MA
Marilyn Hallock, Certified Industrial Hygienist, MIT EHS Office, MIT, Cambridge, MA
Those working in vivariums housing laboratory animals are at increased risk for allergic reactions. The literature describes the importance of facility design, engineering controls, personal protective equipment, and work practice controls for minimizing occupational exposures to the allergens generated within such facilities. This paper describes a case study to assess two different vivarium facilities for rats and mice to develop information for collaborative decisions between three groups, Environment Health and Safety, Occupational Medicine, and Animal Care Managers, with respect to control of employee exposures to allergens. The first facility is a state of the art vivarium completed in 2010 with enhanced ventilation controls and automation. The second facility is twenty years older and represents a traditional university vivarium. The assessment includes an evaluation of the two facilities with a comparison of murine allergen levels measured by collecting area air samples for ELISA analysis under three different conditions: 1. No activity in animal holding area and cage cleaning area. 2. Cage change in animal holding areas. 3. Cage dumping in cage cleaning areas. The study includes information about size of animal holding facilities, number of animals present, ventilation rates, types of caging used, presence and use of cage changing stations, and a description and assessment of controls for the cage changing, and the cage cleaning areas.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
Describe differences in design and ventilation of two laboratory animal vivariums. Assess the association of these differences with the levels of murine allergens in the air for static conditions, cage changing, and cage cleaning. Assess the need for additional engineering, work practice or personal protective equipment controls to minimize employee exposure to allergens in these different facilities.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Certified Industrial Hygienist with a Masters Degree in Environmental Management and over 25 years experience in occupational and environmental health and safety including 20 years in support to University Research Communities, which includes workplace assessments for university personnel handling research animals.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.