Use of Open Flames in a Biosafety Cabinet

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that “open flames are not required in the near microbe free environment of a biological safety cabinet”.   Several major BSC manufacturers and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended against the use of gas burners or alcohol flames within a cabinet.

Open flames:

  • disrupt air flow, compromising integrity of your research materials and protection of the worker.
  • result in excessive heat buildup, possibly leading to damage of HEPA filters.
  • present a potential fire or explosion hazard.
  • could inactivate manufacturer’s warranties on the cabinet.  In the event of a fire, explosion of worker exposure due to use of a flammable gas in the cabinet, cabinet manufacturers will assume no liability.

If you believe that you must use a flame inside the cabinet, consider these alternatives to continuous burning flames:

Bacticinerator for sterilization of loops and needles


Touch-O-Matic provides flame only when needed


Safety Lab Gas Burner: reduces airflow disturbances. Unit can be operated with touch-free DoubleClick IR-Sensor, button, or foot pedal.

Safety lab gas burner



Meagan Fitzpatrick
Biosafety Officer

Halina Staniszewska,
Sr. Lab Safety Specialist