Research involving Human Cell Lines


  • In 1994, OSHA issued an interpretation clarifying the applicability of the Bloodborne Pathogen Standard to human cell lines.  According to the interpretation, human cell lines are considered to be potentially infectious and within the scope of the BBP Standard unless the specific cell line has been characterized to be free of hepatitis viruses, HIV, Epstein-Barr virus, papilloma viruses and other recognized bloodborne pathogens.
  • The American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) recommends that all human cell lines be accorded the same level of biosafety consideration as a line known to carry HIV.
  • The Fifth Edition of the CDC publication, Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL), recommends that human and other primate cells should be handled using Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) practices and containment.


At Princeton University, all cell and organ cultures of human origin, including well established cell lines, shall be handled using biosafety  level 2 practices and containment.


Meagan Fitzpatrick
Biosafety Officer

Halina Staniszewska
Sr. Lab Safety Specialist