Laboratory Decontamination and Decommissioning

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) has implemented a Laboratory Decontamination and Decommissioning program to ensure the safety of the BU community and the environment.  Prior to the relocation or disposal of laboratory equipment, the re-certification or relocation of laboratory , construction or renovations within the laboratory , or upon vacating laboratory , the space must be certified to be free of contamination.  For assistance in arranging for decontamination and decommissioning of laboratory space or equipment, review the written program and contact Environmental Health and Safety.

In summary, the laboratory decontaminates the equipment to be moved or disposed of or the laboratory space being vacated and completes a Laboratory or Equipment Decontamination Certification.  A representative from EHS then visits the laboratory to ensure an appropriate decontamination has taken place and provides a BU Equipment Decontamination Record, or “green sticker”.  The green sticker must be initialed by an EHS representative prior to the equipment being removed or disposed.  Equipment such as refrigerators being disposed of from a non-laboratory area in a laboratory building require a white “Non-Laboratory Equipment” sticker.  Contact Environmental Health and Safety for these stickers.


All laboratory equipment must be decontaminated if  it is remaining in the laboratory after the lab moves out, being moved to a new laboratory or being disposed.

The Principal Investigator or Laboratory Safety Coordinator must complete the Laboratory or Equipment Decontamination Certification and submit the form to the EHS Departmental Safety Advisor when decontamination and decommissioning activities are completed.  This will allow EHS personnel to review the decommissioning activities, visit the  laboratory, and alert the appropriate administrative personnel that the decommissioning has been performed.  Upon receipt of the completed form, EHS will contact the Principal Investigator or Laboratory Safety Coordinator to schedule a tour of the laboratory to confirm the decontamination activities and deliver “BU Equipment Decontamination Record” stickers.  The completed form is valid for fifteen (15) days.   Equipment must be moved or disposed of within 15 days or a new certificate must be filed.

The “BU Equipment Decontamination Record” sticker must be affixed to all equipment that has been decontaminated.  This will allow moving personnel to safely move the equipment to the new laboratory space.  Only equipment with this sticker will be moved. Stickers may be obtained from your EHS Departmental Safety Advisor.

Environmental Health and Safety has created a handout for contractors and Facilities workers to guide them while performing work on or disposing of laboratory equipment.  If there are contractors or Facilities workers performing work in your laboratory, you can help keep them safe by providing this handout and any information about the hazards present in the equipment.


Biological Safety Cabinets, tissue culture hoods, and glove boxes that have been used with potentially infectious materials must be decontaminated by a qualified outside contractor.  This equipment must also be re-certified after it has been moved.   If you have biological safety cabinets, tissue culture hoods, or glove boxes that are either being moved to new laboratory areas or being left behind, contact your EHS Departmental Safety Advisor to discuss decontamination well in advance of the move.

An appropriate disinfectant must be utilized in cases where biological materials were in use.  A disinfectant is deemed appropriate if it targets the biological materials that were in use in the laboratory.  In most cases, 70% ethanol, bleach solution (1:10 made fresh), or a phenolic disinfectant should be adequate for disinfection of lab fixtures, furniture and equipment potentially contaminated with biological materials.  Ideally, an appropriate disinfectant should be identified on the approved Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) protocol.  If you have specific concerns, contact your EHS Departmental Safety Advisor.


Areas and equipment that have been used with radioactive materials have additional decontamination requirements.  Contact Radiation Safety and Medical Physics for more information.  Complete a Radiological Equipment Release Survey Request, available on the Radiation Safety website.

For further information regarding proper disinfection or decontamination procedures, review the written program or contact your EHS Departmental Safety Advisor.


Guidance for Laboratory Relocation of Hazardous Materials

For guidance related to the relocation of hazardous laboratory materials in accordance with appropriate regulations and policies at BU and BMC, review the Guidance Document.