Why are they hazardous?

Biohazards have the potential to cause illness and spread disease if people are significantly exposed to them. Exposure can occur when a person is infected with a biological agent such as through inhalation, ingestion or contact with the skin, eyes or mucous membranes.

People who are at most risk will already have weak or compromised immune systems – for example, when they are recovering from a medical operation. People who are in good health are less likely to be adversely affected by biological agents found in museum collections.