Laboratory Decontamination and Decommissioning: In Depth

Before relocating, disposing of, or re-certifying laboratory equipment and when vacating a laboratory, the space and equipment must be certified to be free of contamination. To arrange for laboratory and equipment decontamination and decommissioning, review the written program and contact Environmental Health and Safety.

Laboratory staff decontaminates the equipment that is going to be moved or disposed of and the lab 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 sticker. The green sticker must be initialed by an EHS representative before the equipment can be removed or disposed. Equipment, such as refrigerators, from a non-laboratory area of 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 of.

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. Once EHS has received the completed form, they 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 each piece of 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.

To ensure the safety of contractors or facilities workers working in laboratory, provide them with information about the decontamination process.


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 targets the biological materials that were in use in the laboratory must be utilized in cases where biological materials were in use. 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.

Learn more about proper disinfection or decontamination procedures and contact your EHS Departmental Safety Advisor with further questions.

Guidance for Laboratory Relocation of Hazardous Materials

Learn more about the policies and regulations about related to moving chemicals and hazardous materials.