Types of Biological Safety Cabinets
Biological safety cabinets are primarily classified into three types: Class I, Class II, and Class III. Each offers its own level of safety and effectiveness, designed to handle different levels of biological risk.
Class I Biological Safety Cabinet
The Class I biological safety cabinet is the most basic level of these tools. It provides minimal protection for the user and the environment, but does not protect the sample. It is ideal for working with biosafety level 1 and 2 agents, which pose little risk of aerosolization.
Class II Biological Safety Cabinet
The Class II biological safety cabinet provides a higher level of protection. It protects the user, the environment, and the sample. There are different types of Class II cabinets, including the Class II Type A2 biological safety cabinet, which has a 99.97% filtration efficiency for 0.3-micron particles.
Class III Biological Safety Cabinet
The Class III biological safety cabinet offers the highest level of safety. It is used to work with biosafety level 4 agents, such as deadly viruses that can be transmitted through the air. All operations in a Class III cabinet are performed through integrated gloves to ensure maximum protection.
Biological Safety Cabinets for Cytostatics
In addition to these three classes, there is a specialized cabinet: the Biological Safety Cabinet for Cytostatics. Cytostatics are drugs that inhibit or stop cell growth and are often used in cancer treatment. These cabinets are designed to handle these potentially dangerous drugs, protecting both users and the environment.
Which is the Best Cabinet for Your Laboratory?
Choosing the right biological safety cabinet depends on the type of work to be performed in your laboratory. You should consider the biological agents you will work with, their risk level, and the specific needs of your laboratory.
Remember that safety should always be the primary consideration. Therefore, if your laboratory handles biosafety level 3 or 4 agents, or cytostatic drugs, you should opt for a Class III biological safety cabinet or a cabinet for cytostatics, respectively.