How To Select the Best Specialty Lab Cabinets
Read more to find out how to choose the right Biosafety Cabinets, Laminar Flow Cabinets, and Fume Hoods for your laboratory needs.
Of course, it goes without saying that the final specifications for this type of equipment need to be made in partnership with your lab's Chief Safety Officer (CSO) as well as engineering or technical specialists familiar with the equipment manufacturer's products, the detailed specifications of the HVAC system in your lab, all applicable workplace health and safety regulations for the type of lab work you are undertaking, as well as the governing regulations covering exposures to chemicals or biohazards from agencies such as OSHA (or Cal OSHA in California), the FDA, NIOSH, the NSF, WHO, or other relevant bodies that govern your specific application. And while we're on the topic of disclaimers, this article will not cover specialty lab cabinet selection for use with radiological materials; we'll address that at a later time.
Understanding The Full Spectrum Of Biosafety Cabinet Solutions – From Laminar Flow Cabinets To Biosafety Cabinets To Fume Hoods.
You often hear these three terms used somewhat interchangeably:
The confusion is understandable – first, because they all look somewhat similar to the untrained eye, and second, they all rely on fast-moving air to get the job done.
The difference lies in the details.
While many cabinets look the same, their operation can be quite different – thus, it can be dangerous to assume that, for example, a laminar flow cabinet can protect you from toxic fumes or biohazards. By design, it cannot.
Let's start by taking a look at the role and function of laminar flow cabinets, then we will contrast that with an extreme example of the other end of the spectrum, glovebox-type biosafety cabinet (BSC) found in a high-security BSL level-4 laboratory. Then we'll come back to fume hoods, which are designed to protect users from exposure to toxic chemical fumes.
Laminar Flow Cabinets: Protecting The Product/Sample From Contamination
Category And Class/Type: Laminar Flow Cabinets, Vertical Or Horizontal
Let's start by looking at laminar flow cabinets because they're the simplest category from a human safety requirements standpoint. Why?