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The Biological Safety Program enforces regulations that ensure the safe operation of biological safety laboratories in Boston. We lead efforts affecting biological safety laboratories by (1) leading internal, multidisciplinary teams in biological safety activities, including a city working group devoted to the new National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL), and (2) collaborating with elected officials, municipal employees, organizations, and the private sector.

The Biological Laboratory Regulations require anyone operating or planning to operate a Biosafety Level 3 or Level 4 laboratory or proposing to use rDNA at biosafety levels 2, 3, or 4 within the City of Boston to apply for a permit from the Boston Public Health Commission. To learn more about the BPHC Regulations, click here


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The BBC provides technical assistance and advice to the BPHC's Executive Director on issues related to the regulation and permitting of biological research laboratories in the City of Boston.

Current Regulations Governing Biological Research and Recombinant DNA Technology Use in the City of Boston

On January 16, 2019, the Boston Board of Health adopted amendments to Boston's Biological Laboratory Regulations to:

  1. Rescind the Recombinant DNA Use and Technology Regulation,
  2. Remove the prohibition on Recombinant DNA (rDNA) research on BSL-4 agents in Boston, under the condition that any rDNA project undergo rigorous approval process for BSL-4 projects
  3. Incorporate the regulation of the use of rDNA into the Biological Lab Regulation,
  4. Formalize a requirement that each individual BSL-4 research project undergo review by the Boston Biosafety Committee prior to receiving approval by BPHC, and
  5. Revise definitions and citations to align with updated national guidance documents.

Click here for BPHC Board of Health meeting materials.

Questions? Contact the Environmental Health Office at 617-534-5965 or

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Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: