General Technical Bulletin

When to Replace a Biosafety Cabinet

Use of modern day Biological Safety Cabinets (BSC’s) began in the early 1970’s with BSC’s that were manufactured to the NIH-03-112C Standard and subsequently with Biosafety Cabinetry Standard NSF/ANSI 49. BSC’s produced in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s have provided well over 20 years of service. Cabinets manufactured in the early 2000's are reaching their useable life. Biological Safety Cabinets Have a 15 Year Useable Life Several considerations should be made of BSC’s in this age group. Will the BSC need extensive service? (i.e., HEPA filter replacement, blower/motor replacement, electrical system replacement? etc.). Can an older BSC be commissioned after it has been in storage or purchased as a resale? Will original test reports/manuals be available or will the BSC be commissioned to current NSF standards? After 20 years, replacement parts may or may not be available due to electrical or mechanical changes at the factory or industrial part suppliers. For example, magnetic ballasts and T12 fluorescent bulbs are no longer easily accessible since the year 2010. Also, today’s BSC’s have evolved through the years with many improvements in safety containment performance, ergonomics, serviceability, and energy efficiency that should be considered in a repair versus replacement decision. This bulletin covers the frequently asked question (faq) when should I replace my biosafety cabinet.

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