Natick Board of Health to consider laboratory regulations

NATICK – Natick’s health officials are considering implementing local lab regulations, just weeks after plans to redevelop Natick Mall’s Neiman Marcus store into a research and development facility fueled community safety conversations.

Last month, the mall’s neighbors expressed concern that NM Redevelopment’s plans for the site could eventually include a laboratory. The project is still in its early stages and the developers have not yet confirmed that the project will, in fact, include a lab.

The ensuing conversations put the spotlight on biosecurity levels, designations assigned to laboratories to determine the protective measures needed, depending on the materials they use.

What do the biosecurity levels mean?

Each level of biosafety (BSL) carries certain risks, but also certain protective equipment, safety measures and supervision, explained Director of Public Health Michael Boudreau in a presentation at the Board of Health meeting on Tuesday.

For example, BSL 1 laboratories work with materials that pose minimal risk to the community.

“A biosafety level 1 lab is essentially a high school lab,” Boudreau said.

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