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Laminar Flow Clean Benches vs. Biosafety Cabinets


Clean Bench Information: 

  • Horizontal laminar flow clean benches are NOT biosafety cabinets. 
  • They discharge HEPA-filtered air across the work surface and toward the user.
  • These devices only provide product protection. 
  • They can be used for certain clean activities, such as the dust-free assembly of sterile equipment or electronic devices. 
  • Should never be used when handling cell culture materials or drug formulations, or when manipulating potentially infectious materials. 
  • Workers can be exposed to materials being manipulated on the clean bench.
  • Horizontal laminar flow clean air benches should never be used as a substitute for a biological safety cabinet in research, biomedical or veterinary laboratories and/or applications.

This information comes from the CDC/NIH publication: Primary Containment for Biohazards: Selection, Installation and Use of Biological Safety Cabinets  - Additional Biosafety Cabinet information can also be found there.

Air Flow View





EHRS strongly discourages ANY use of Laminar Flow Clean Benches on campus.

  • Horizontal laminar flow clean benches are inappropriate for use with any potentially biohazardous material including human source material (clinical specimens, blood, tissue, etc.), cell cultures, infectious agents, or infected animal tissue.
  • Horizontal laminar flow clean benches are inappropriate for use with uninfected animals (lab animal allergy), hazardous chemicals and volatile radioisotopes.
  • Work with the above materials should be conducted in a Class II biosafety cabinet.

Clean Bench with Red Line

Click here to contact an EHRS Biosafety Officer, or call EHRS at 215-898-4453.

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