There are several classifications of cleanrooms, determined by the maximum level of particles allowed in measurements of the air within the room. Whether a class 1 room—with the most stringent restrictions on air quality and a difficult and rare condition to achieve—or a less restrictive class, when it comes to allowable contaminates all require expert protocol and cleanroom solutions. Since all classes share a common goal to eliminate and avoid contamination of the area, understanding the potential sources of contamination is important. Once the sources are identified, proper actions can be taken to address each and improve the conditions of the room. Sources of common contamination in cleanrooms include several elements.
HumansPeople are a complex source of contamination, with several different opportunities to introduce impurities into their environment.
- Bacteria—Over 300 years ago, under a basic microscope, the first bacteria were discovered. Since that initial discovery, trillions of bacteria have been found on this planet, millions of which are on the human body.
- Skin cells—In addition to the bacteria people house on their bodies, skin cells shed at a rate of 1,000,000,000 per day, another potential source of contamination.
- Fluid—The mouth and nose are also a source of possible contamination through the discharging of particulates that contain a large amount of microorganisms.
- Tools—The tools used in the cleanroom can also introduce contaminates through their operations by emitting particles while running, through the lubricants used to keep them in proper condition, and when not properly cleaned and maintained.
- Cleaning solutions—These can introduce impurities if they do not meet the necessary standards for disinfecting by carrying contaminates into the space and providing an environment for bacteria to grow.
- Water—This can be found in the air, building heating and cooling systems, and other plumbing that might exist within the room and without the proper air filtration, can carry bacteria and provide an environment for them to multiply.