Top 5 Safety Tips about Biosafety Cabinet UV Light

Biological Safety Cabinets (BSCs) provide personnel and product protection for a variety of lab uses.

Many BSCs come equipped with a germicidal UV light, which keep your lab environment safe by sterilizing work surfaces and the air. 

These are the top 5 safety tips to know about your biosafety cabinet UV light.

1. How long does a biosafety cabinet UV Lamp last?

The lifespan of a UV lamp varies based on its quality, usage frequency, and installation environment. While the lamp may physically last longer, its germ-killing effectiveness typically decreases over time. It's generally recommended to replace UV lamps annually or after approximately 6,000 hours of use.


2. How long should I use the UV light in my biosafety cabinet?

The effective runtime for a UV light in a BSC ranges from 30 minutes to 8 hours, depending on the lab's needs. However, prolonged exposure can damage some plastics and reduce the bulb's lifespan. If using the UV light for extended periods, remove any plastic items from the work area and make sure that no members of the lab are present.

Keep in mind that the time it takes for UV light to kill different organisms depends on several factors, including the type and size of the organism, the intensity and wavelength of the UV light, and the distance between the organism and the UV source. Research has shown that UV-C light, which has a wavelength of 200-280 nm, can kill up to 99.9% of airborne bacteria and viruses within a few seconds of exposure.

3. What does UV light kill?

UV light effectively kills bacteria, viruses, fungi, and molds by damaging their genetic material. However, its effectiveness can be hindered by the presence of contaminants like dirt or dust.

Always use UV light as part of a comprehensive disinfection strategy, which typically includes wiping down work surfaces with alcohol wipes. Check your lab's standard safety protocol for more information.

4. What are the downsides of a using a UV light in my biosafety cabinet?

Prolonged UV exposure can degrade materials, causing discoloration and brittleness. Therefore, remove or cover any work materials before using the UV light.

Excessive use can also shorten the lamp's lifespan. Some BSCs, like the Thermo Fisher 1300 Series, feature programmable timers to optimize UV light usage and extend bulb life. Refer to Tip #2 above for recommendations on how long to use your UV light for.

5. If the UV lamp in my biosafety cabinet stops working what should I do?

f you notice that you biosafety cabinet's UV lamp has failed, it's time to replace it with a new one.

BSC Bulbs offers a wide selection of replacement bulbs that you can easily install yourself. Just search for your model of cabinet (e.g., Baker SG400) and order -- we'll take care of the rest.

If you're not sure which bulb to purchase, email us at and we'll help you out.