In most discussions about Fume Hoods, a critical component of the system is overlooked.
For a safe and healthy outcome using chemical fume hoods, we have to look at this from a holistic point of view. It is a system with 3 major components. The fume hood itself, the laboratory ventilation system, and the fume hood user. Unless all of these elements are addressed, a poor outcome is likely.
This book is written with the user in mind. The more you understand about fume hood performance, the better prepared you will be to have a safe and healthy experience.
Just because there is a fume hood in a lab, doesn’t mean it is operating safely. The reasons for less than optimal performance are many. some are more controllable than other, but as a user, it is your health and safety that is the only reason to have a fume hood in the first place. So the more you understand about how fume hoods work, the better you chances of a safe experience.
Recent news articles quote studies claiming that as many as 45% of laboratory users say they received no training on laboratory safety, including the proper use of a fume hood. Even less get effective training on fume hood use.
When fume hoods are tested AU (As Used), many hoods fail to perform at safe levels. About 25% of those failures occur because of user practices. The corrective action is to train the users and help them understand how to do their work in a way that maximizes the fume hood’s ability to contain hazardous materials.
The actions of fume hood users affect everyone in the laboratory. Air Quality affects everyone. If there is an accident, it puts everyone at risk. It isn’t just about your health and safety when fume hoods fail to contain and contaminate laboratory air, which puts everyone in the lab at risk of exposure. The poor air quality can damage equipment and compromise the results from work being performed.