The Physical Contamination Level 2 or PC2 laboratories are set up with an aim to reduce the risk factors for man and the environment which is caused by different microbiological organisms like bacteria and also by the radiations that are being used in the lab facilities. PC2 laboratories with biosafety cabinets are required if experiments include elements that can aerosol and also if activities include microorganisms that can transmit through the respiratory route.
How PC2 Laboratories Are Certified?
Office of Gene Technology Regulatory of the Department of Health issues certificates to a particular PC2 laboratory. Certificates are issued under section 90 of Gene Technology Act 2000. There are four levels of contaminants (physical) that are applied to the facilities which get certified by the Regulator. Arrangement is made in ascending order of severity or stringency of the contaminant requirement. This in turn reflects the level of threat associated with the undertaken activities.
What Kind Of Experiments Can Be Carried Out In A PC2 Laboratory?
- Genetically Modified microorganisms are dealt with in these labs.
- PC2 laboratories deal with Genetically Modified plant tissues or the entire plant which are kept in a growth chamber or in contaminated devices that need to be approved by the Regulator.
- Aquatic organisms, invertebrate animals if not prohibited by the licensing committee, can be used in experiments and procedures carried out in PC2 laboratories.
How To Keep The Doors And Windows In A PC2 Laboratory?
While working with GMO doors of the laboratory must be closed. Doors can only be opened during entry and exit of staff or movement of equipment. Emergency exists should not be used to enter the laboratory under any circumstance. Windows should also be closed while working with GMOs.
Clothing in a PC2 Laboratory
People working in a PC2 laboratory and conducting experiments must wear protective clothing and other protective gear like gloves and masks and eyewear. The protective clothing should be such that it can protect the front part of the body. It is preferred to wear a gown that is fastened at the back. Protective clothes should be removed before leaving the lab except when the staff is moving to another contaminated area that is directly connected with the previous lab without any public thoroughfare. This is to avoid the risk of cross-contamination while passing through corridors accessed by other people.
What Should Be Done If There Is A Spill Of Gmos Inside Or Outside The PC2 Laboratory?
- Decontaminate the spills of GMOs as per documented procedures and these procedures if asked by the regulator must be submitted.
- If the GMO spill occurs inside the PC2 laboratory facility, decontaminate it as soon as possible.
- If the GMO spill occurs outside the laboratory facility, then apply procedures so that all the spilt substances are recovered. Contaminated surfaces are to be decontaminated immediately.
- Report the Regulator immediately if there is a suspected or unintentional GMO spill outside the laboratory facility.
Don’ts in a PC2 Laboratory
- You cannot deal with Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) that has a contaminant level higher than what is permitted in the license.
- You cannot maintain invertebrates, aquatic organisms or arthropods for more than the minimum time required to conduct experimental procedures on them.
- You cannot grow any other plant in a PC2 laboratory except for those which are in tissue culture technique or in growth cabinet as approved by the regulatory body.
- You cannot work with GMO culture that is greater than 25 liters.
Facts About PC2 Laboratories in Australia
As of 2020 it is reported that there are in total 176 PC2 laboratories in Australia. These laboratories are mostly situated within renowned universities, hospitals and research institutes.
Hence, much precaution has to be taken and discipline has to be maintained while working in a PC2 laboratory as you are dealing with toxic materials which are detrimental for your health.