The three general types available (Class I, II, III) have performance characteristics and applications which are described here. Properly maintained Class I and II BSCs, when used in conjunction with appropriate microbiological techniques, provide an effective containment system for safe manipulation of moderate and high-risk microorganisms (Biosafety Levels 2 and 3 agents).
- Both Class I and II BSCs have inward face velocities (75-100 linear feet per minute) that provide comparable levels of containment for laboratory workers and the immediate environment from infectious aerosols generated within the cabinet.
- Class II BSCs have the additional advantage of providing protection to the research material by high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA)-filtration of the air flow down across the work surface (vertical laminar flow).
- Class III cabinets offer the maximum protection to laboratory personnel, the community, and the environment because all hazardous materials are contained in a totally enclosed, ventilated cabinet.