ATCC products are sent with the condition that you are responsible for their safe storage, handling, and use. ATCC is not liable for damages or injuries resulting from receipt and/or use of ATCC materials.
ATCC has classified cultures and related products by biosafety level (BSL) for purposes of packaging for safe shipment. The classification is based on assessment of the potential risk using U.S. Public Health Service guidelines, background information on the material provided by the depositor and review of the material by ATCC scientists familiar with the material. Each item is evaluated individually and in some cases the ATCC assigned biosafety level is more restrictive. Those items in BSL-1 are not known to cause disease in healthy adult humans. Materials in BSL-2 present a moderate risk and should be handled under BSL-2 guidelines. Handling of BSL-3 strains requires the use of BSL-3 laboratory practices and containment. All infectious materials should be handled under the supervision of a competent and knowledgeable scientist. It is ultimately the recipient's and their institution's responsibility to determine the biosafety level and work with the material under the appropriate containment for the laboratory manipulations being performed.
The Web site for the CDC's Office of Health and Safety has complete descriptions of the biosafety levels in the text of the publication Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, (BMBL) 5th Edition (HHS Publication No. (CDC) 93-8395. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health; U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington DC; 2007). It is available in its entirety online. Information on agent risk assessment may be found in the Agent Summary Statements of this publication.
The actual risk associated with handling a biological agent depends not only on the nature of the agent, but also on the laboratory manipulations employed during its handling. It is incumbent upon each recipient of an ATCC culture or product to fully assess the potential risk of working with it in their laboratory. To help you in that assessment we have provided the references below.