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Research Article Open Access

Airborne Exposure Assessment of Class II, Type A2 Biosafety Cabinets (BSC) at Controlling Workplace Exposures to Volatile Fractions of Select Antineoplastic Agents


Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate whether Class II, Type A2 Biosafety Cabinets (BSC) that are commonly used for pharmaceutical compounding are effective at controlling potential exposures to the organic vapor fraction of chemotherapy drugs under small and/or large spill conditions.

Methods: This study involved testing for the airborne, vapor fraction of propylene glycol (as a surrogate chemical compound) under two separate conditions to assess the ventilation effectiveness of the Class II A2 BSC. A small amount of propylene glycol (5 ml) was used to simulate a small spill of a chemotherapy agent in solution that could occur during compounding in a BSC using a closed system transfer device (CSTD). Then a large amount of propylene glycol (250 ml) was used to simulate a worst-case spill. Air samples for propylene glycol were collected within each compounding room. Similar air sampling under like conditions was also performed in Class II B2 BSC for comparison purposes.

Conclusion: The data suggest that Class II A2 BSC are similarly effective to Class II B2 BSC at controlling volatile fractions of simulated chemotherapy agents. However, the data also suggest that there may be an exposure risk in both types of BSC should compounding technicians need to access the inside of the BSC for clean-up during small and/ or large spills. The study results are relevant to any operations where compounding of chemotherapy drugs is performed in Class II A2 BSC.

Xavier Alcaraz, Nick Filipp, Michael Peterson, Russell Snyders, Alex Truchot

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