Environmental Health and Safety

HEPA Filters for Pumps

CDC/NIH Guidelines now require vacuum systems used at Biosafety Level 2 (BSL2) and above to be protected from potential contamination by the use of HEPA filters. These guidelines state: Vacuum lines are protected with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, or their equivalent. Filters are replaced as needed. Liquid disinfectant traps may be required. See example (Thermo Fisher Scientific catalog)

vacuum protection system illustration

One method to protect a house vacuum system during aspiration of infectious fluids. The left suction flask (A) is used to collect the contaminated fluids into a suitable decontamination solution; the right flask serves as a fluid overflow collection vessel. A glass splarger in flask B minimizes splatter. An in-line HEPA filter (C) is used to protect the vacuum system (D) from aerosolized microorganisms.