Team:CIDEB-UANL Mexico/HumanPractices/Safety


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Team: UANL_Mty-Mexico

Team: CIDEB-UANL Mexico


Would any of your project ideas raise safety issues in terms of researcher safety, public safety, or environmental?

Our project does not raise any safety issues; we are working with E. coli strains that are specifically weakened for laboratory use.

In this project we mostly work with BioBricks, and we are following iGEM-HQ recommendations in order to prevent any risk.

Though several compounds we use have health hazards, we have researched every one of them to know the how can it affect the body, which precautions to take prevent them, and what to do in case someone comes in contact with said compounds.

Some precautions we take are:
When using ethidium bromide (risks include: irritant to eyes, skin, mucus, and respiratory tract) we make sure the designated research zone is properly closed and we use the necessary protection.

When observing stained DNA, through the use of UV rays, we use special protection for the eyes.

While managing electrical devices and circuits, all members of the team were told to handle them with extreme care.

The project and any part of it are not considered as safety risks for the public, because, as said before, the bacteria that is being used is an E. Coli that was specially weakened for laboratory use. Furthermore, even though chemicals that may present safety risks are used within the project, they are only used within the research area, and are not presented to the public, only the final product, which presents no risk, is presented to the public. Furthermore, the aim of the project is the creation of a bacterium that can detect different concentrations of heavy metals in water, which only product is faint light that doesn’t represent any risk to the environment.

Do any of the new BioBrick parts (or devices) that you made this year raise any safety issues?
No, the new biobricks are perfectly safe

Is there a local biosafety group, committee, or review board at your institution? If yes, what does your local biosafety group think about your project?

Our project does not imply any additional risk to common laboratory work at any area, as "work is done with defined and characterized strains of viable microorganisms not known to consistently cause disease in healthy adult humans". Nevertheless, biosafety level 1 precautions are being fulfilled during wet-experiments as we are conscious there are common risks at any lab. Hazardous but common chemicals at the lab, such as Ethide Bromide and UV radiation, are handled with proper care and pertinent protection to minimize potential risks.
Would the materials used in your project and/or your final product poses:

a. Risks to the safety and health of team members or others in the lab?
No. Although bacteria carrying multiple antibiotic-resistance are being handled, they are all non-pathogenic E. coli K12 substrains.

b. Risks to the safety and health of the general public if released by design or accident?
No. Even if some bacteria used in the project have temporary multiple antibiotic resistances, they are all weakened strains that cannot survive outside the lab.

c. Risks to environmental quality if released by design or accident?
No. The project aims to make a bacterium that can detect heavy metals in water, only releasing light, which is harmless to the environment.

d. Risks to security through malicious misuse by individuals, groups or states?
No, it just detects different concentrations of heavy metals in water, which is just useful to see which uses can be given to said water.

Please explain your responses (whether yes or no) to these questions. Specifically, are any parts or devices in your project associated with (or known to cause):

- Pathogenicity, infectivity, or toxicity?
No, none of the substances produced during the project are pathogenic, non toxic non infective.

- Threats to environmental quality?
No. Our project does not involve the production of any hazardous nor potentially harmful substances.

- Security concerns?
No. Our project does not involve the production of any hazardous nor potentially harmful substances.


1.Conduct yourself in a responsible manner at all times in the laboratory.

2. Follow all written and verbal instructions carefully. If you do not understand a direction or part of a procedure, ASK YOUR TEACHER BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH THE ACTIVITY.

3. Never work alone in the laboratory. No student may work in the science classroom without the presence of the teacher.

4. When first entering a science room, do not touch any equipment, chemicals, or other materials in the laboratory area until you are instructed to do so.

5. Perform only those experiments authorized by your teacher. Carefully follow all instructions, both written and oral. Unauthorized experiments are not allowed.

6. Do not eat food, drink beverages, or chew gum in the laboratory. Do not use laboratory glassware as containers for food or beverages.

7. Be prepared for your work in the laboratory. Read all procedures thoroughly before entering the laboratory. Never fool around in the laboratory. Horseplay, practical jokes, and pranks are dangerous and prohibited.

8. Always work in a well-ventilated area.

9. Observe good housekeeping practices. Work areas should be kept clean and tidy at all times.

10. Be alert and proceed with caution at all times in the laboratory. Notify the teacher immediately of any unsafe conditions you observe.

11. Dispose of all chemical waste properly. Never mix chemicals in sink drains. Sinks are to be used only for water. Check with your teacher for disposal of chemicals and solutions.

12. Labels and equipment instructions must be read carefully before use. Set up and use the equipment as directed by your teacher.

13. Keep hands away from face, eyes, mouth, and body while using chemicals or lab equipment. Wash your hands with soap and water after performing all experiments.

14. Experiments must be personally monitored at all times. Do not wander around the room, distract other students, startle other students or interfere with the laboratory experiments of others.

15. Know the locations and operating procedures of all safety equipment including: first aid kit(s), and fire extinguisher. Know where the fire alarm and the exits are located.

16. Know what to do if there is a fire drill during a laboratory period; containers must be closed, and any electrical equipment turned off.

17. Any time chemicals, heat, or glassware are used, students will wear safety goggles. NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE!

18. Contact lenses may be not be worn in the laboratory.

19. Dress properly during a laboratory activity. Long hair, dangling jewelry, and loose or baggy clothing are a hazard in the laboratory. Long hair must be tied back, and dangling jewelry and baggy clothing must be secured. Shoes must completely cover the foot. No sandals allowed on lab days.

20. A lab coat or smock should be worn during laboratory experiments.

21. Report any accident (spill, breakage, etc.) or injury (cut, burn, etc.) to the teacher immediately, no matter how trivial it seems. Do not panic.

22. If you or your lab partner is hurt, immediately (and loudly) yell out the teacher's name to get the teacher's attention. Do not panic.

23. If a chemical should splash in your eye(s) or on your skin, immediately flush with running water for at least 20 minutes. Immediately (and loudly) yell out the teacher's name to get the teacher's attention.

24. All chemicals in the laboratory are to be considered dangerous. Avoid handling chemicals with fingers. Always use a tweezer. When making an observation, keep at least 1 foot away from the specimen. Do not taste, or smell any chemicals.

25. Check the label on all chemical bottles twice before removing any of the contents. Take only as much chemical as you need.

26. Never return unused chemicals to their original container.

27. Never remove chemicals or other materials from the laboratory area.

28. Never handle broken glass with your bare hands. Use a brush and dustpan to clean up broken glass. Place broken glass in the designated glass disposal container.

29. Examine glassware before each use. Never use chipped, cracked, or dirty glassware.

30. If you do not understand how to use a piece of equipment, ASK THE TEACHER FOR HELP!

31. Do not immerse hot glassware in cold water. The glassware may shatter.

32. Do not operate a hot plate by yourself. Take care that hair, clothing, and hands are a safe distance from the hot plate at all times. Use of hot plate is only allowed in the presence of the teacher.

33. Heated glassware remain very hot for a long time. They should be set aside in a designated place to cool, and picked up with caution. Use tongs or heat protective gloves if necessary.

34. Never look into a container that is being heated.

35. Do not place hot apparatus directly on the laboratory desk. Always use an insulated pad. Allow plenty of time for hot apparatus to cool before touching it.

Safety Animation

Here you can check a video for explaining some rules to the rest of the time, in this way we all can be aware of all these important rules for lab-working.