The biological safety cabinet (BSC) is designed to provide protection to the product, the user, and the environment when appropriate practices and procedures are followed.
WARNING: DO NOT use fume hoods or clean benches for biohazardous materials work. Fume hoods are designed for work with chemicals. They are not designed to protect biological materials and are extremely difficult to decontaminate. Clean benches are intended to protect the research product, not the worker.
Purchase recommendation. Several kinds of BSCs are available and selection is based on the nature of the research/application. BSCs are divided into classes (I, II, and III) and types (A, B, C). Class II cabinets are designed to protect the research material as well as the worker and the environment. Both the supply air and the exhaust pass through a HEPA filter. There are four types of Class II cabinets. Class II Type A2 cabinets (formerly labeled Type A/ B3) have a number of design features that make them more useful in research laboratories than other Class II cabinets.
Certification. The certification process ensures that the BSC is working as designed. Annual re-certification is required for all BSCs used for work with biohazards, and is the responsibility of the laboratory or the department office. Contact any NSF 49 Certified vendor for certification.
Moving. BSCs must be decontaminated by a certified professional prior to moving. Post moving, BSCs must be re-certified. Contact any NSF-certified BSC certification vendor.
Installation. Choose a location away from pedestrian traffic, doors, and air currents generated by room ventilation, all of which can disrupt airflow. The BSC must be re-certified after movement and installation at the new location. NOTE: Even small moves can disturb the HEPA filter and therefore, re-certification is necessary.
For more information about biosafety cabinets, see Appendix A “Primary Containment for Biohazards: Selection, Installation and Use of Biological Safety Cabinets” of the CDC’s publication, Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories (BMBL) 5th Edition.
Vendors Available to Certify or Decontaminate Biosafety Ventilation Equipment