The IBC has reviewed a number of recent injuries/exposures involving broken glass pipettes in laboratories. Per the BSL2 standard microbiological practices described in the CDC/NIH Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL, 5th edition), “Plastic ware should be substituted for glassware whenever possible”. As such, the Committee has determined that glass Pasteur pipettes must be eliminated from ≥ BSL-2 laboratories, unless scientifically justified.
To facilitate selection of appropriate substitutes, such as plastic aspirator pipettes or plastic Pasteur pipettes, EH&S Biosafety has developed a Safer Sharps page (see Plastic Alternatives section). EH&S Biosafety (firstname.lastname@example.org) can also provide your laboratory with samples so that you can assess whether they will work for your experiments.
If, after evaluating these alternatives, you feel that glass Pasteur pipettes are still necessary based on scientific need, you may submit a deviation request to the IBC. This deviation should be documented in the Operational Risks page of your BUA (question #2). Please contact email@example.com if you have any questions on submitting a deviation request.
The IBC also encourages all PIs and Lab Supervisors to take this opportunity to review the sharps and sharps safety devices/practices that are being used in your laboratory operations. Again, please refer to the EH&S Safer Sharps page for additional information on safer sharps devices.
Please let us know if you have any questions regarding this policy. A formal written policy will be released in the near future and posted on the IBC website.