Carbon filters must be replaced regularly to avoid the effects of over-saturation and protect laboratory personnel from harmful vapors generated on the work surface. Even small levels of hazardous vapors that pass through old, expended filters pose significant risks. If the filters are not changed regularly, dangerous fumes and vapors will pass through and return to the work area, posing a threat to workers and the laboratory.
While HEPA and ULPA air filters are key in maintaining particulate protection, they too require a regular replacement schedule. Over time, both HEPA and ULPA filters become saturated with particulates, reducing their ability to mitigate a biological hazard. Depending on usage, HEPA/ULPA filters typically need to be replaced every 24 months.
In general, while used carbon filters and HEPA filters can be disposed of in approved landfills, it is important to check with your laboratory safety officer in advance of filter disposal. HEPA and ULPA filters should be disposed of according to laboratory safety officer directives and local codes. In some cases, autoclaving may be required before removing filters from the facility.