IACUC Policy: Allergy Control 
Policy # IBT-115.00 IACUC Approval: February 27, 2014

Purpose:
This policy is established to protect employees that would with animals against allergen exposure.

Scope:
This policy applies to all persons exposed to animals during the course of their work activities.

General Information:
The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (NRC 2011) does emphasize the use of “engineering or process controls” for allergy prevention. It also states that “PPE should be used to supplement, not replace, engineering or process controls...." This guidance is made in the context of allergy prevention and early identification of personnel with emerging allergic symptoms. The Guide also cites the extensive literature indicating that laboratory animal allergy has become a significant issue for those in contact with laboratory animals. AAALAC International considers allergy prevention to be an important topic and a key component of the occupational health and safety program. The use of engineering controls to prevent exposure to allergens is preferred as the primary means to minimize personnel exposure. PPE should be used as an adjunct to engineering controls, rather than the foremost means of protection. Keeping in mind that the activities most associated with allergen exposure are handling animals and cages with bedding, cage changing and dumping soiled bedding in the cage wash area, appropriate engineering controls may include: proper animal facility design and function with separation of functional spaces; a well-designed and functional HVAC system with appropriate airflow patterns; consideration of newer cage designs which minimize personnel exposure; and the use of containment equipment such as biosafety cabinets, cage changing stations and bedding dump stations. AAALAC International site visitors will continue to evaluate occupational health and safety programs and the methods used to prevent laboratory animal allergy through evaluation of personnel training, risk assessment by qualified occupational health and safety personnel, preventive medicine, periodic health evaluations, engineering controls, and the appropriate use of PPE.

References:

National Research Council. Institute for Laboratory Animal Research. 2011.  Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.  Public Health Service, Bethesda, MD.

  1. AAALAC Guidelines

History:
00- Original version – February 27, 2014