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Animal Biological Safety Levels (ABSL)

SolutionsAnimal Biological Safety Levels (ABSL)

Animal Biosafety Level (ABSL) is provided for work with vertebrate animals exposed to agents which may infect humans. ABSL 1 thru 4, provide for practices, equipment, and facilities that are comparable to the laboratory biosafety levels. However, there are unique hazards associated with infected animals that must be understood by those personnel with animal contact and addressed in the animal facility. ABSLs are designed to protect personnel from exposure to potentially infectious materials.




Safety Equipment
(Primary Barriers)

(Secondary Barriers)


Not known to consistently cause disease in healthy adults

Standard animal care and management practices, including appropriate medical surveillance programs

As required for normal care of each species

Standard animal facility

No recirculation of exhaust air

Directional air flow recommended

Handwashing sink recommended


Associated with human disease. Hazard: percutaneous exposure, ingestion, mucous membrane exposure

ABSL-1 practices plus:

Limited access

Biohazard warning signs

“Sharps” precautions

Biosafety manual

Decontamination of all infectious waste and of animal cages prior to washing

ABSL-1 equipment plus primary barriers: containment equipment appropriate for animal species; PPEs: laboratory coats; gloves; face and respiratory protection as needed

ABSL-1 facility plus:

Autoclave available

Handwashing sink available in the animal room

Mechanical cage washer used


Indigenous or exotic agents with potential for aerosol transmission; disease may have serious health consequences

ABSL-2 practices plus:

Controlled access

Decontamination of clothing before laundering

Cages decontaminated before bedding removed

Disinfectant foot bath as needed

ABSL-2 equipment plus:

Containment equipment for housing animals and cage dumping activities

Class I or II BSCs available for manipulative procedures (inoculation, necropsy) that may create infectious aerosols. PPE: appropriate respiratory protection

ABSL-2 facility plus:

Physical separation from access corridors

Self-closing, double-door access

Sealed penetrations

Sealed windows

Autoclave available in facility


Dangerous/exotic agents that pose high risk of life-threatening disease; aerosol-transmission, or related agents with unknown risk of transmission

ABSL-3 practices plus:

Entrance through change room where personal clothing is removed and laboratory clothing is put on; shower on exiting

All wastes are decontaminated before removal from facility

ABSL-3 equipment plus:

Maximum containment equipment (i.e. Class III BSCs or partial containment equipment in combination with full-body, air-supplied, positive pressure personnel suit) used for all procedures and activities

ABSL-3 facility plus:

Separate building or isolated zone

Dedicated supply and exhaust, vacuum, and decon systems

Other requirements outlined in the BMBL text


Esco Pharma offers a wide range of innovative and cost-effective GMP turnkey containment solutions to cater even the most critical lab/ manufacturing processes. Through its 4 core technologies (Isolation Containment, Airflow Containment, Cross-Contamination Facility Integrated Barrier, and Ventilation Containment), and along with its mission to create a safe industrial work environments for operator protection and for the integrity of the products, Esco Pharma enables pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, and cosmeceuticals to comply with the internationally accredited cGMP, as well as, industrial, environmental, and health and safety standards.



  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2009). Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (5th ed.). Retrieved from: