Laboratory of Animal Research, Asan Institute for Life Sciences, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
Rodent animals are adversely affected by noisy environments of construction work. The 16-year-old laboratory animal research facility at Asan Institute for Life Sciences was remodeled. The institute is 5-story building and the facility was on the top floor. The renovation was designed to improve the old facility on the fifth floor (1,386 m2) partially and to expand a new animal facility on the fourth floor area (1,162 m2) which had been in use as in vitro laboratories previously. The fifth floor consisted of SPF zone (247.5 m2) and Semi-SPF rooms (181.5 m2) for rats and mice only, and the forth floor BioSafety Level 3 Laboratory (139.9 m2), middle to large animal rooms (155.4 m2) and small animal rooms (123.8 m2). However, users of the old facility did not want to stop studies with animals during the renovation. For this reason, the expansion work for the new facility on the fourth floor had been given priority. After finished the work, housed animals on the fifth floor moved to the fourth floor, and then the remodeling to the old facility started. Therefore, the remodeling had divided by two stages. During the remodeling, the noise, vibration and dust of construction by drilling and hammering concentrated in the early of every stage. The noise levels ranged from 50-90 decibels (dB) (A) (average: 70-80 dB). Housed rodent animals were adversely affected by the construction environment. Some users expressed complaints about increase of skin injuries by self-biting, mortality, killing and eating young, blood sugar levels and infertility, and decrease of litter sizes. The complaints were localized when remodeling on the fourth floor. In conclusion, an animal facility where planning renovation need to start construction work after moving housing animals to a safety area for preventing from a construction environment, and if not, the facility should begin the work after stopping all of animal experiments.