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Making the choice between a class 2 and a class 1 safety cabinet

posted on: October 26th, 2012
When working with biological agents, choosing the right laminar flow hood can be a difficult process. Evidently, hazardous biological materials require the use of a class i or class ii safety cabinet, but a number of factors need to be taken into consideration before the final choice is made.

Don’t dismiss the class 1 safety cabinet

The class 1 cabinet has long been the instrument of choice when the prime concern is protection of the worker. Still widely used in clinical diagnostics and microbiology labs, it is the simplest and cheapest of the three biohazard cabinet solutions.

Where protection of both the user and the work zone is required, for example tissue culture applications, the class ii safety cabinet is the obvious choice, utilising both an inward and downward laminar flow of HEPA-filtered air. While this offers a high level of product and user protection, class 2 systems can be more sensitive to outside air movements than Class 1 cabinets, compromising user safety.

Which to choose?

The disadvantage with the class 1 safety cabinet is one of product contamination, but incorrect use of a class ii laminar flow hood can pose a major threat to safety, especially with hazard group 3 agents.

If a class ii safety cabinet is to be used with HG-3 materials, additional ‘in use’ checks must always be performed to assess the cabinet’s performance under normal working conditions. It may also be a requirement with HG-2 agents. Any risk assessment should include clear reasons as to why a Class 1 or Class 3 cabinet cannot be used.
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Contained Air Solutions Ltd, Unit 4, Greengate, Middleton Junction, Manchester, M24 1RU. Tel +44(0)161 655 8860 Fax: +44(0)161 655 8865 Email: info@containedairsolutions.co.uk