Can we work in the lab during a decontamination?

Before we begin to decontaminate a cabinet, the LTS technician will review the procedure with you and post warning signs on the cabinet and entrances to the lab where the decontamination will be performed.

While it may be safe to be in the lab during decontamination, we recommend that you do not stay in the lab during the decontamination process. An LTS technician will let you know when the process is complete.

When is decontamination required?


Decontamination is required when maintenance work, filter changes and performance tests require access to any contaminated portion of the cabinet. Decontamination may be desirable prior to certification testing when the cabinet has been used with certain BSL-2 agents and recommended when it has been used with any BSL-3 agent. Decontamination should also be performed prior to relocation of the biosafety cabinet in case a contaminated plenum is breached during its relocation.

What is a “decontamination”?


A microbiological decontamination is a two step process that involves both a space decontamination (surface disinfection) and a gaseous decontamination (Paraformaldehyde/Chlorine Dioxide). LTS works with the cabinet user as a team to accomplish this process. Typically the user performs the first step that is surface disinfection and then LTS performs the second step that is gaseous decontamination. Gaseous decontamination is a process of using paraformaldehyde/chlorine dioxide gas contained in a cabinet for a set amount of time to remove all contaminates. An industry standard decontamination procedure can be found in NSF/ANSI 49 Informative Annex 2. CETA CAG-004 Biological Decontamination and Disinfection of Accessible Surfaces in Biosafety Cabinets is another document to help understand the process in its entirety.