Cleanroom Terminology: BioSafety Hoods & Cabinets

Cleanroom Terminology: BioSafety Hoods & Cabinets

Anyone in quality assurance or testing who works in or has to design a cleanroom knows how confusing the terminology around cleanrooms can be. To demystify some of the cleanroom design processes, here is an explanation of two potentially confusing terms: biosafety hoods and biosafety cabinets.

What is a biosafety hood?

A biosafety hood is generally known as a fume hood. The purpose of a fume hood is to isolate fumes from materials that may be hazardous and filter those fumes out of your cleanroom space. An exhaust fan at the top of the cleanroom building pulls air, fumes, and airborne contaminants out of the fume hood and exhausts outside of the building.

What is biosafety cabinetry?

Biosafety cabinetry works very similarly to biosafety fume hoods. Biosafety cabinetry uses laminar airflow to filter airborne fumes and contaminants away from the cabinet area, which like a fume hood can be used as a work surface or storage area.

What are the classifications?

There are three classes of biological safety cabinets, Class I, Class II, and Class III. The classification determines the level of protection. Class I protects the user and the surrounding environment, but does not protect the sample. Class II and Class III protect the user, sample, and surrounding environment. Class II is divided into four subcategories, A1, A2, B1, and B2, based on exhaust system and minimum airflow. Class III is the highest level of protection and control. Class III cabinets are also known as “glove boxes” and are completely gas-tight with a double-door autoclave or dunk tank. 

 

Protection

User

Environment

Sample

Class I

Yes

Yes

No

Class II

Yes

Yes

Yes

Class III

Yes—highest 

Yes—highest 

Yes—highest 

 

Special considerations

If your cleanroom requires work with dangerous, hazardous, or toxic substances with airborne contaminants or fumes, your cleanroom likely requires some kind of biosafety cabinetry or hood. The level of protection necessary for your specific application, whether your application requires Class I, Class II, or Class III cabinetry, will depend on the specific operations and substances used in your cleanroom. 

 

Looking for a cleanroom that incorporates biosafety cabinetry? Angstrom Technology can design a cleanroom to accommodate any kind of cabinetry or other equipment necessary for your application.

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