The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) develops standards that help countries meet mutual goals related to safety, environment and industry. ISO 14644 covers clean rooms and other clean areas, such as those found in laboratory and precision manufacturing applications. This standard not only sets limits on the amount of pollutants or particulates within a clean room, but also includes guidelines for measurement, design, and operation. While ISO 14644 is not a law in and of itself, many countries have adopted this standard as part of official legal codes. In non-regulated areas, organizations may rely on this standard to help them ensure proper clean room conditions, even if this compliance is not required by law.
A set of agreed upon standards for clean rooms makes it easier for countries to trade in products related to health care, medicine, and very high-end or sensitive products. In 1999, the ISO developed ISO 14644-1, which served as a basic way to define clean room conditions. ISO 14644 Section Two was released the next year, with numerous additional sections released over the next decade. These added sections were designed to clarify or refine the original ideas and standards laid out in ISO 14644.
The very first release of ISO 14644 was meant simply to define what a clean room should be. This publication set specific maximum levels of pollution or particulates within these spaces. The standard measures both concentration, or particles per cubic meter, as well as type and size of these particles. Certain materials that are more dangerous may be restricted more severely than less dangerous substances.
Section Two of ISO was created to help organizations more accurately measure concentrations of particulates. It includes both acceptable testing techniques and how these tests should be carried out. This section also covers certification and compliance paths.
ISO 14644 Section Four addresses clean room design and construction techniques. It advises users on proper ventilation, as well as materials and layouts. Section Five covers how these rooms should be operated to maintain a sterile, clean environment. It addresses maintenance and cleanup, as well as safe attire and preventative measures for workers in and around these spaces.
As the ISO received feedback on ISO 14644, it released several more documents as part of this standard. Section Six simply helps to define terms used in the document to give readers a better understanding. Later sections cover enhanced or specialty applications that are not addressed in earlier releases.