Air sampling equipment is designed with a specific purpose in mind, but many purchasers do not realize that the differences between different air samplers can be major factors in the appropriate testing and control of their environments. Simply put, some air monitoring equipment are not fit for operation in certain environments, and using the wrong device could end up creating negative consequences for the environment that surrounds it. For this reason, it is critical to understand the differences between devices.
Some device traits make specific pieces of air monitoring equipment undesirable in a clean room, or lab environment. Problems such as material shedding by the device, sample volumes exhausted at test locations, unfiltered exhaust, and airflow disruption can arise when using the wrong air sampling equipment. Additionally, cumbersome or large devices are not easily placed or located for the sake of testing.
An Ideal Design
The right air sampling design skips the major design problems of lesser units. Look for HEPA filtered exhausts, the exhaust of particles outside of critical zones, a device that is easily sterilized or sanitized, and something with a small footprint and low profile that’s easy to place. Also desirable: Remote operation controls that make it easier to manage your sampling protocols from a location, outside, or away from the critical environment being tested.
When considering a new piece of air sampling equipment, you should think about the following: Type and size of microbial particles being sampled, sensitivity of those microbial organisms to the testing parameters, concentration of those microbial particles, and the ability to detect high or low levels of microbial contamination. Also to be considered: Appropriate culture media for detection of the desired microbes being collected, and the time and duration of sampling.
The wrong air sampling devices can compromise everything you do. But, choosing the right air sampler helps you keep your critical environments in an appropriate state of control, by ensuring that the device itself does not negatively impact your environment, while the samples and data you collect are accurate.