Pharmaceutical Process Air & Gas

Trace Analytics, LLC – the leading compressed air testing laboratory since 1989

You have high standards – so do we

At Trace Analytics, our team of experts is dedicated to helping pharmaceutical manufacturers maintain safe, clean air at the highest quality standards, while simultaneously offering guidance when there is no clear testing criterion. We are an ISO 17025 accredited testing laboratory with experience handling the document and quality requirements of pharmaceutical manufacturers. Our laboratory is equipped to handle the high volume of a large compressed air system validation, while also offering 1-business-day rush turnaround for jobs with tight deadlines.

ISO 17025 Accredication

ISO 17025 Accreditation Certificate

Example Report

Pharmaceutical Example Report

What We Offer

We offer custom testing specifications tailored to meet individual testing needs as well as guidance for manufacturers navigating testing requirements. Our reliable, accurate, and easy-to-use testing kits comply with ISO 8573-1:2010 sampling and analytical requirements, providing assurance to manufacturers about the quality of their final product.

  • ISO 8573 Purity Classes 0-6
  • Oil Vapor & Oil Aerosol Analysis
  • Easy to follow instructions with informative videos
  • 3-5 standard turnaround, 1-day rush available
  • 0.1-0.5 µm particle size measurement available with LPC rental

Pharmaceutical Industry Compressed Air & Gas Testing Specifications

In the absence of a specified standard, pharmaceutical manufacturers are recommended to rely on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 8573-1:2010 air standards in addition to a regular air testing schedule to maintain the appropriate air purities. The ISO 8573 Purity Class chosen by a manufacturing facility is dependent upon the individual manufacturer’s use of the compressed air and its contact with the pharmaceutical product. The facility should begin by performing a Hazard Analysis, which will help the manufacturer identify potential compressed air hazards, assess the existing control measures, and ultimately determine if extra controls are needed.

Trace Analytics, LLC can test to a wide variety of specifications. Some example specs commonly used in Pharmaceutical Industry are shown below:

2011 ISPE Good Practice Guide - Process Gases, Table 7.1

Particles Water Oil
By Particle Size
(maximum number of particles per m3)
By Mass Aerosols or Vapor Pressure Dewpoint Liquid Hydrocarbons
0.10 µm < d ≤ 0.5 µm 0.5 µm < d ≤ 1.0 µm 1.0 µm < d ≤ 5.0 µm mg/m3 °C °F g/m3 mg/m3
Viable and Non-Viable Count Typically equal to the at rest condition of the area served ≤ -40 ≤ -40 - ≤ 0.5
Microbial Count Other Chemical Impurities
Non-Sterile Applications Sterile Applications (Only as Applicable) Based on the generation technology and/or USP/EU Monograph
Guideline limits to be established based on product bioburden limits. Typical level NMT 5 cfu/m3 As per viable particle requirements for Grade area where the product is exposed to the compressed gas (e.g., Grade A, Grade A/B, Grade B or Grade C) Gas Purity
Applicable for inert gases such as Nitrogen, as per USP/EU Monograph
Air & Gas Specifications referenced above may be viewed and/or purchased from: ISPE - International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering

Cleanroom Classifications a

Clean Area Classification
(0.5 µm particles/ft3)
ISO Designation b ≥0.5 µm particles/m3 Microbiological Active Air Action Levels c
Microbiological Settling Plates Action Levelsc,d
(diam 90mm; cfu/4 hours)
100 5 3,520 e e
1,000 6 35,200 7 3
10,000 7 352,000 10 5
100,000 8 3,520,000 100 50
  1. All classifications based on data measured in the vicinity of exposed materials/articles during periods of activity.
  2. ISO 14644-1 designations provide uniform particle concentration values for cleanrooms in multiple industries. An ISO 5 particle concentration is equal to Class 100 and approximately equals EU Grade A.
  3. Values represent recommended levels of environmental quality. You may find it appropriate to establish alternate microbiological action levels due to the nature of the operation or method of analysis.
  4. The additional use of settling plates is optional.
  5. Samples from Class 100 (ISO 5) environments should normally yield no microbiological contaminants.

Recommended Limits for Microbial Contamination a

Grade Air Sample cfu/m3 Settle Plates
(diameter 90mm)
cfu/4 hours b
Contact Plates
(diameter 55mm) cfu/plate
Glove Print
5 fingers
A < 1 < 1 < 1 < 1
B 10 5 5 5
C 100 50 25 -
D 200 100 50 -
  1. These are average values.
  2. Individual settle plates may be exposed for less than 4 hours.
Air & Gas Specifications referenced above may be viewed and/or purchased from: ANSI - American National Standards Institute