Biological agents, plant or animal, are classified according to biosafety level risk groups. These classifications presume ordinary circumstances in the research laboratory, or growth of agents in small volumes for diagnostic and experimental purposes.
BSL-1 risk group contains biological agents that pose low risk to personnel and the environment. These agents are highly unlikely to cause disease in healthy laboratory workers, animals or plants. The agents require Biosafety Level 1 containment. Examples of BSL-1 organisms are: Agrobacterium radiobacter, Aspergillus niger, Bacillus thuringiensis, Escherichia coli strain K12, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Micrococcus leuteus, Neurospora crassa, Pseudomonas fluorescens, Serratia marcescens.
BSL-2 risk group contains biological agents that pose moderate risk to personnel and the environment. If exposure occurs in a laboratory situation, the risk of spread is limited and it rarely would cause infection that would lead to serious disease. Effective treatment and preventive measures are available in the event that an infection occurs. The agents require Biosafety Level 2 containment. Examples of BSL-2 organisms are: Mycobacterium, Streptococcus pneumonia, Salmonella choleraesuis.
BSL-3 risk group contains biological agents that usually cause serious disease (human, animal or plant) or that can result in serious economic consequences. These agents are usually not spread by casual contact. The agents require Biosafety Level 3 containment.
BSL-4 risk group contains biological agents that usually produce very serious disease (human, animal or plant) that is often untreatable. These agents are usually easily transmitted from one individual to another, from animal to human or vice-versa, either directly or indirectly, or by casual contact. The agents require Biosafety Level 4 containment.
For comments or questions about Ohio Wesleyan Universities Biosafety Plan please contact the Environmental Health and Safety Office at 740-368-3502.
BSL level information is from the Center for Disease Control.