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Environmental Health & Safety



Biological Safety Cabinets


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What are Biological Safety Cabinets?

Biological safety cabinets are designed to provide both a clean work environment and protection for employees who work with biological hazards. They use vertical laminar airflow to create a barrier to airborne particles, such as microorganisms. High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are used to clean air going into the work area and out to the environment. The HEPA filter removes airborne particles from the air, but does not remove chemical fumes. A biosafety cabinet is different from a chemical fume hood, which are only designed to remove (not decontaminate) chemical fumes and aerosols away from the work area. A single exception is a specific special model of Class II Type B2 biological safety cabinet that is UL classified as a fume hood.

When should I use one?

When the need arises for manipulation of pathogens that are likely to create aerosols (such as vortexing open tubes, pipetting, opening caps after centrifuging, sonicating, aspirating with a syringe, etc.). Use for all manipulation of airborne transmitted pathogens

New NSF Classification of 2002

Cabinets previously classified as Class II, Type A/B3 are now classified as Class II, Type A2. These biosafety cabinets may be exhausted to the room, or connected to a facility exhaust system via a "canopy" connection. (NSF recommends a canopy connection for cabinets exhausted to the outdoors.) The Class II, Type B3 classification no longer exists for new units. See the chart below for the New NSF Classification, adopted 2002.
 

New NSF Classification, Adopted 2002

Previous NSF Classification

General Description

A1 Class II -70% air recirculated;
- 30% exhausted from a common plenum to the room;
-75FPM intake;
- May have biologically contaminated positive pressure plenum
A2 Class II, Type A/B3 -70% air recirculated; 30% exhausted from a common plenum to the room;
-100FPM intake;
-Biologically contaminated plenum under negative pressure or surrounded by negative pressure
A2 Class II, Type B3 -70% air recirculated; 30% exhausted from a common plenum to a facility exhaust system;
-100FPM intake;
-Biologically contaminated plenum under negative pressure or surrounded by negative pressure
B1 Class II, Type B1 -40% air recirculated; 60% exhausted from cabinet;
-exhaust air pulled through dedicated exhaust duct into facility exhaust system;
-100FPM intake
-All biologically contaminated plenums are negative to the room or surrounded by negative pressure plenums
B2 Class II, Type B2 -0% air recirculated; 100% exhausted from cabinet
-Exhaust air pulled through dedicated exhaust duct into facility exhaust system;
-100FPM intake
-All ducts and plenums are under negative pressure
-All contaminated ducts are under negative pressure or surrounded by directly exhausted negative pressure ducts or plenums

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