A biosafety cabinet (BSC) is one of the most important pieces of equipment in virtually every laboratory that handles low-to-moderate risk biological materials. A BSC maintains a safe environment for personnel and prevents cross-contamination of the work product in industries such as large healthcare providers, testing facilities, compounding pharmacies, or pharmaceutical manufacturers through air filtration. Among the many important components determining the effectiveness of a BSC, the most critical is the air filter.
There are two primary types of air filters used in BSCs: HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, and ULPA, (Ultra-Low Particulate Air) filters. Understanding the similarities and differences between HEPA and ULPA aids in selecting the filter which offers the best combination of performance and capability for the specific needs of an organization.