Biosafety Cabinetry | Standards Michigan

Biosafety Cabinetry

Large research universities, university-affiliated healthcare enterprises and K-12 science laboratories provide a large market for this technology.   When new research square-footage is budgeted the #TotalCostofOwnership of this technology is difficult to determine because of its inter-dependence on environmental air management systems designed for fire safety and energy conservation.


Biosafety Cabinetry

January 1, 2020
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“Der Alchemist” / Max Fuhrmann

NSF International develops a consensus standard for one of the centerpiece safety technologies for a large revenue driver in research universities: biomedical research.   The landing page for its biosafety cabinetry product, installation, operation and maintenance standard is linked below:

NSF 49 Biosafety Cabinetry.

From the project prospectus:

This Standard applies to Class II (laminar flow) biosafety cabinetry designed to minimize hazards inherent in work with agents assigned to biosafety levels 1, 2, 3, or 4.  It also defines the tests that shall be passed by such cabinetry to meet this standard. NSF 49 includes basic requirements for the design, construction, and performance of biosafety cabinets that are intended to provide personnel, product, and environmental protection; reliable operation; durability and structural stability; cleanability; limitations on noise level; illumination; vibration; and motor/blower performance.   

NSF International is one of several ANSI accredited continuous-maintenance standards developers that publishes redlines in the weekly ANSI Standards Action publication and the changes are made continuously (an example of what we refer to as a stream).   The committee hosted its annual face-to-face meetings at the NSF International Headquarters in late June.  Owing to intellectual property restrictions we cannot post the agenda; however, a sample of topics to be discussed — topics which already track in ANSI Standards Action — are listed below:

  • “Work area” definitions
  • Microprocessor alarms for airflow and other operating conditions
  • Alternative HEPA filters
  • European Standard 12469
  • Noise levels
  • Testing of pharmaceuticals
  • General editorial, clarification and “wordsmithing”

This equipment class is the centerpiece of many research laboratories and is a multidimensional risk aggregation so NSF 49 needs to move swiftly.  We track that action, and public commenting opportunities that emerges from the decisions made in Ann Arbor this week, as it becomes available.

University of Texas Medical Branch Biosafety Training Center

Two new redlines regarding inflow measurements and normative references have been released for public review:

ANSI Standards Action Page Page 37

Comments are due January 19th

Another redline covering “work area” has been released for public review:

ANSI Standards Action Page 39

Comments are due January 5th.


Another redline covering non-NSF listed canopies has been released for public review:

ANSI Standards Action | Page 38

Comments are due December 22nd.


You are encouraged to communicate directly with the NSF 49 technical committee administrator Alan Rose ( to set up a (free) account into which you may key in your comments.   Send comments to Alan (with copy to   This standard is on the agenda of our Laboratory Safety and Sustainability Standards teleconferences.  See our CALENDAR for the next online meetings; open to everyone

Issue: [13-118]

Category: Risk Management, Occupational Health and Safety

Colleagues: Mike Anthony, Richard Robben, Mark Schaufele


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