aerosol hazard with flow cytometer

Mike Yee mikeyee at aol.com
Tue Dec 13 01:50:18 EST 1994

I've been working on hardware to deal with bio-hazard issues when sorting
with stream-in-air sorters, in particular the BD machines. Earlier
versions had too high a flow rate, now I think I've got it figured out.

Testing a recent installation of aerosol containment hardware on a FACS
Vantage showed an interesting, possibly bio-hazardous situation. The FACS
Vantage has a molded "sink" which makes up the bottom part of the
collection box as well as the collector for the back drip of the sample
introduction. These two areas are separated by some sheet metal. However
the sheet metal is not flush with the sides of the "sink" and therefore do
not seal the areas from one another (they are not supposed to). With warm
air created by the halogen light supplied by BD in the area of sample
introduction, a horizontal air current is made which enters the sample
collection box then moves vertically, up and out of the stream generation
area. A bio-hazard problem occurs if the vertical air currents catch some
(bio-hazardous) aerosol and is forced up and out into room air. This may
be an artifact of the way I check for air currents, but I think its real.
The problem goes away when a seal is made between the sample introduction
area and the sample collection area. THIS IS VERY EASY TO DO (ANY

The aerosol containment unit which removes about 1 liter of air per second
out of the collection box was not able to contain the test smoke without
sealing the ACDU slot (expected this) and the area mentioned. 

I initially test air flow with a chemical smoke generator which creates
about the same amount of smoke as 2 cigarettes. From the rate at which the
smoke rises, I don't think it is too hot for valid air flow studies.

For more information you can e-mail me at  Mike Yee at AOL.com or you can
phone me at 408-245-2920 or fax at 408-245-2940

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