When your laboratory is working with pathogens or other potentially hazardous material, it helps to have fume hood protection. Biosafety cabinets will limit your exposure. These workspaces also keep your samples and processes from contamination while containing biological agents within the cabinet.
Ventilation of air volume within the cabinet determines its classification. Biosafety cabinets are designated as Class I, Class II, or Class III. Class I is the first option (unavailable in Australia) for worker protection that doesn’t protect samples. Class II (Type A and B) protects lab workers, samples, and the external environment. Class III is the most rigorous level of protection, with a gas-tight, enclosed structure for high risk biological agents. This level protects personnel, samples, and the external environment.
Some biosafety cabinets may have special features such as the ability for a microscope to be integrated into the cabinet. Another feature is a temperature-controlled area. Others are designed for chemical safety. Make sure the cabinet you choose has the capabilities and features to meet both your short term and long-term laboratory uses.
The CDC advises that the biosafety cabinet must be combined with “the appropriate practices, procedures and other administrative controls to further reduce the risk of exposure to potentially infectious microorganisms.”
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