Guide to Biological Safety Cabinets
By: John Buie Published: May 21 2010
Biological Safety Cabinets provide effective containment for lab workers working with human pathogens. There are three separate classes of BSC’s available: Class I, II and III; some with additional sub-class levels. These classes are designated by the National Sanitation Foundation.
Class I Biological Safety Cabinets have an un-recirculated airflow away from the lab worker that, after going through a HEPA filter, is vented into the atmosphere. They provide the lab worker adequate protection but do not protect the samples in the cabinet from contamination.
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Class II Biological Safety Cabinets are used when working with microorganisms in containment levels 2, 3 and 4 labs. They are divided into two types, A and B, determined by their construction, airflow velocities, patterns and exhaust systems. They protect the lab worker, samples and the external environment.
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Class III Biological Safety Cabinets have both HEPA-filtered supply and exhaust air and are totally enclosed and gas tight while work is performed using long sleeved gloves. The cabinet is kept under negative pressure of at least 120 Pa while an exterior exhaust system maintains airflow. This protects the lab worker, the samples and the external environment.
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