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Part 1: What is a BSL Lab?
Part 2: The Challenges of BSL Lab Design
Part 3: The Need for Reliable Power in the Lab
Part 4: Lab Exhaust Air Requirements
Part 5: Other Lab Design Factors: Physical Barriers and the Envelope
Part 6: Meeting Standards, Controlling Costs
By John DeLeonardis and Keith James
August 2008 -
HVAC Article Use Policy
One of the most critical features of any BSL 3 or 4 laboratory is the ventilation and air management system. It serves as a critical line of defense from environmental exposure to pathogens and hazardous materials commonly used in the facility. It is imperative to pay close attention to each system to minimize the risk associated with materials entering or escaping from the system.
Design strategies include:
Avoid forcing conventional and containment areas to share exhaust and filtration systems. Special attention should be paid to the method used to mount duct sensors downstream of exhaust HEPA filters. Whenever possible, it should avoid sharp angles; opt instead for smooth turns. Duct material should be strong enough to hold up to pressure variations without risk of collapse.
Supply ductwork that passes outside the containment area must be airtight and leak-tested using a reassure decay method. Additionally, filters and filter housings should be tested to ensure all elements are properly sealed and maintain system integrity under sustained operational pressures.