A biosafety cabinet is also known as biological safety cabinet which has some special appeal of its own and this has some own features and characteristics. Several different types of BSC are available and these are differentiating by the degree of biocontainment requirement. The primary purpose of a BSC is to serve as a means to protect the laboratory worker and the surrounding environment from pathogens. All the exhaust air is HEPA filtered as it exists the biosafety cabinet removing viruses and bacteria. Apart from these, there have some secondary purposes to maintain the sterility of materials inside.
When this BSC is serviced including replacement of HEPA filters it must be gas decontaminated which involves filling the BSC with poisonous gas, most commonly formaldehyde gas. Biological safety cabinets or BCS are used to provide both the clean work environment and protection for employees who can create aerosols when working with biological hazards. BCS cannot be used for working with volatile chemicals or radioactive materials. Try to install BSC s to allow access to their supply and exhaust filters for annual certification testing and HEPA filter changes. The top of the cabinet must be at least 18’ below the ceiling to field test exhaust flow according to NSF standard 49.
Most biological safety cabinets are not classified under this standard because they are not typically used for large quantities of volatile chemicals. The biosafety cabinet and the fume hood’s working procedures are totally different and that is why it is not possible to use a biosafety cabinet as a fume hood. Most of the foreign countries use these materials in their best way. They try their level best for using these materials in a proper way that is why these are not misusing at all.
Now the question is that what do all biosafety cabinets have in common?
- Class 2 type a biological safety cabinet is the most common safety cabinet of all the different types available. It has the common plenum from which 30% of air is exhausted and the 70% recirculated to the work area as the downflow. A key distinction is that biosafety cabinets have an internal blower motor which recirculates potentially contaminated air through HEPA filters.
- Like a chemical fume hood, the biosafety cabinet protects the user from hazardous material using directional air flow. A key distinction is this biosafety cabinet has an internal blower motor which recirculates potentially contaminated air through HEPA filters which filters are designed to remove any biological agent from the air passing across the filter.
- Besides these, the air circulates through the chamber passes through the supply HEPA filters. The main features are these create a sterile environment inside the chamber which is ideal for doing tissue culture work or sterline microbiology.
- This biosafety cabinet is sometimes referred as Tissue culture hoods and depending on if and how the cabinet is connected to the building exhaust small amounts of volatile or toxic chemicals can be handled inside a biosafety cabinet while sterline biological research.