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5/31/2018 » 6/3/2018
2018 OSAP Annual Conference

FAQ - Office Design & Management - 2016
 FAQ - Office Design & Management - 2016



Can you please provide recommendations/requirements for ventilating central sterilization with steam autoclaves (not chemiclaves). Are hoods required? Is just regular positive ventilation acceptable? Thanks.

The 2003 CDC guidelines for infection control in dentistry states as follows:


The sterilization section of the processing area should include the sterilizers and related supplies, with adequate space for loading, unloading, and cool down. The area can also include incubators for analyzing spore tests and enclosed storage for sterile items and disposable (single-use) items (260). Manufacturer and local building code specifications will determine placement and room ventilation requirements.1

These guidelines recommend using manufacturer and building code specifications to determine placement and ventilation requirements for sterilizers. It is recommended that you consult with the product manual, or directly with the manufacturer, for further information. There may also be local building code requirements. It is recommended that you consult with your state or local public health department about any code requirements. Additionally, depending upon the type of dental practice (i.e., hospital, ambulatory surgery, clinic, etc.) there may be other requirements for ventilation set forth by other agencies or professional organizations.

ANSI/AAMI ST 79 under Design Considerations contains a section on Ventilation ( This standard states in part:

The ventilation system should be designed so that airflow patterns will not allow air contaminants to enter clean areas. Air should flow from areas of positive pressure to areas of negative pressure. Air from rooms or areas under negative pressure should be exhausted to the outside via a nonrecirculating system. The soiled and decontamination area should be designed so that air flows into the area (negative pressure), with a minimum of 10 air exchanges per hour, and so that all air is exhausted to the outside atmosphere. Whenever possible, dedicated local exhaust systems should be used in place of dilution ventilation to reduce exposure to hazardous gases, vapors, fumes, or mists. Each functional area has its own requirements for air flow, number of air exchanges, and exhaust (Table 2). 2

In summary, when you have questions pertaining to requirements and operation of your steam autoclave, it is recommended that you start by consulting with the product’s instruction manual, or by contacting the manufacturer of the product directly for further information.


1)     Kohn WG, Collins AS, Cleveland JL, Harte JA, Eklund KJ, Malvitz DM, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guidelines for infection control in dental health-care settings—2003. MMWR Recomm Rep 2003;52(RR-17):1-61. Accessed February 15, 2016 

2)     Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. ANSI/AAMI ST79:2010: Comprehensive guide to steam sterilization and sterility assurance in health care facilities; 2013. Page 28. 




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