Select Agents and Toxins

Any laboratory interested in research using regulated biological select agents listed in the Federal Select Agent Program must contact Rice Environmental Health and Safety prior to work. The purchase, use, storage, and transfer of these materials are highly regulated by the US Department of Health & Human Services as a potential public biosafety threat and therefore must have the proper administrative approval before any work commences. Information and lists of select agents and toxins can be found at


Prior to conducting research using select agents or toxins the researcher must first obtain an approved registration from Federal Select Agent Program.

Once the laboratory has fulfilled all federal requirements and secured a registration, the Principal Investigator (PI) must notify Environmental Health and Safety to assess the biocontainment and security within their facility. Approval for ordering these materials shall be authorized by the Director of Environmental Health and Safety, the Department Chair and/or the Dean/VP of the school or division as outlined in the Rice University Policy No. 313.

If the material is being imported from a foreign supplier or collaborator the following may be needed:


All researchers must complete the following Rice EHS courses:

  • General Laboratory Safety
  • Biosafety and Bloodborne Pathogens

The PI must provide specific training on handling, storage, and disposal of the specific biologic agent. All researchers should be aware of the hazards and be provided any available and applicable medical surveillance.


The PI must report all suspected theft, loss, release, or occupational exposure of select agent or toxin to the Federal Select Agent Program immediately.

Any persons suspected of being occupationally exposed must also contact Rice EHS and Risk Management.


The PI must obtain permission from the Federal Select Agent Program when transferring materials to another institution. The transfer of any regulated biologics to any private or foreign entity without clearance from the Federal Select Agent Program and/or US Department of Commerce is strictly prohibited.


  • A laboratory specific Biosafety Plan must be submitted and approved by Rice EHS
  • All communications with federal agency should be copied into the Biosafety Plan
  • Training documents for individuals
  • Inventory and usage logs should be kept for each agent

Restrictions and Exemptions

The following toxins are not regulated if the amount under the control of the Principal Investigator does not exceed the permissible amount listed below:

HHS Toxins [ยง73.3(d)(3)]



100 mg

Botulinum neurotoxins

0.5 mg

Short, paralytic alpha conotoxins

100 mg

Diacetoxyscirpenol (DAS)

1000 mg


100 mg


100 mg

Staphylococcal Enterotoxins (Subtypes A, B, C, D, and E)

5 mg

T-2 toxin

1000 mg


100 mg

The Federal Select Agent Program provides guidance updates on restricted experiments that may confer resistance to current medical treatments or increase lethality of the biological agent. These procedures are also covered under the NIH Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) policy.


42 CFR Part 73 - provisions set forth under the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 for the protection of public and animal health

7 CFR Part 331 - provisions set forth under the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002 for the protection of plants

9 CFR Part 121 - provisions set forth under the Agricultural Bioterrorism Protection Act of 2002 for the protection of animals

United States Government Policy for Institutional Oversight of Life Sciences Dual Use Research of Concern


Select Agent and Toxin List

Permissible Toxin Amount