Sources of Particles in Cleanrooms

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Courtesy of Climet Instruments Company

Viable particles consists of bacteria, virus, fungal spores, molds, and yeast.  These are generally obtained from people, outside air, water, equipment, tools, excipients, and active ingredients.

The objectives of environmentally controlled cleanrooms are to provide a contamination-free space to test or manufacturer contamination free products.  Nonetheless, contamination has a way of unexpectedly occurring without any indication of its origin.

There are two types of contaminates: viable and non-viable (or inert) particles.  

Non-viable particles, for example, are metal specks or flakes, fiber from clothing, and even dead skin. These are generally obtained from people, equipment, or tools.

An adult human will lose about 6-14 grams of dead skin material every day, and lose a complete layer of skin about every four days, which is equivalent to 10,000,000 particles per day.

In a cleanroom, an adult will generate 100,000 particles per minute when motionless (fully gowned), and will generate 1,000,000 particles per minute when walking in the cleanroom. As can be seen in the graph, cleanroom personnel are a major source of particle generation.

Viable particles consists of bacteria, virus, fungal spores, molds, and yeast. These are generally obtained from people, outside air, water, equipment, tools, excipients, and active ingredients. 

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