Being allergic to animal dander can seem like a barrier to working in an animal laboratory. Even someone with mild allergies can end up feeling miserable after a long day of cage changing. Fortunately, the best animal research equipment is designed to protect you from animal dander.
An animal transfer station is a clean bench designed specifically for procedures that could stir up allergens, such as animal cage changing. As room air is pulled in through the grilles along the edge of the work surface, it passes through two filters – a prefilter that captures large particles and then a HEPA filter. Animal transfer stations that use a momentum air curtain provide an added layer of protection. The air curtain is a layer of air near the front of the cabinet or near the view screen that moves faster than the air inside the cabinet, minimizing the chance for allergens to escape the work area.
If an animal transfer station exhausts through the top rather than out the bottom, it can also protect you from dust allergies, since there’s nothing to kick up dust from the floor.
Personal protective equipment is your first line of defense against any kind of contamination, but animal labs use specialized equipment to provide further protection. Animal transfer stations are designed to direct air that is contaminated with particulates from soiled bedding away from personnel and through the prefilter and HEPA filter mentioned above. All of the air that is exhausted from the unit back into the lab is 99.97% free of particulates that could carry contamination from lab animals.
Additionally, some animal transfer stations can be designed to include waste chutes. Contaminated bedding is dropped into a deep well that opens to your waste container below the cabinet.
When animals are anesthetized with gases such as isoflurane, lab personnel are at risk of breathing in any gas that may leak from the work area. While HEPA filters will provide protection from particulates, they do not filter out gases or vapors, so another type of protection is needed.
An activated carbon filter installed as a pre-filter in an animal transfer station will filter out waste anesthetic gases such as isoflurane. Bonus – it also filters out odors, making cage cleaning more comfortable for animal care technicians.
Watch how the AniGARD e3 animal transfer station traps dry ice vapor and prevents it from leaving the work area.