In laboratories all over the world, dangerous and hazardous chemicals are stored and handled. If these chemicals are distilled or heated, they release harmful vapors, odors, and/or particles. This means the air quality inside the lab itself because dangerous as well. It is common, unless proper policies and procedures are in place, for lab technicians to feel uncomfortable and to develop various health problems, all caused by these airborne chemicals. Luckily, they can put chemical fume hoods in place to help prevent this. These hoods are usually made from a polypropylene material and can be installed anywhere in a lab to prevent airborne chemicals from damaging the environment and the people within it. Unsurprisingly, these hoods are vital additions to any research room in which people work with toxins and chemicals.
How Chemical Fume Hoods Work
There are many different fume hoods available, each of which has its own design. However, all of them have a system of filtration and expulsion to protect the air. How well they do this depends on the unit’s size and power. If a lab handles highly hazardous materials, they may want to consider investing in a hood that uses a duct system to completely remove the air from the room. These usually feed outside. They come with a fan in order to gain control over the airflow, and any contaminated air is simply expelled back outside. However, these types of hoods do use a lot of power, aren’t portable, and can be difficult to install.
The ductless system is an alternative. Here, the air is taken in and then simply recirculated into the room it come from. They also come in various powers and sizes, and they can even be portable. This makes them a lot more convenient for those who often have to change work stations. It comes with a powerful filtration system, and many have media filters such as carbon filters fitted to them. This increases efficiency and makes the air a lot cleaner. One other benefit to these hoods is that they are very easy to install, since they don’t require outdoor duct connections.
Polypropylene hoods are the most popular and for good reason. Firstly, this material is far more affordable than any other. Additionally, it is a very durable material, even when exposed to strong chemicals. Polypropylene doesn’t rust and won’t show signs of aging either. The material has various other benefits as well, which is probably why it is so popular in laboratories.
It is all too easy for people in labs to become contaminated with a variety of airborne particles. This is highly dangerous as many of these chemicals are very toxic. Some are even carcinogenic, although this wouldn’t become apparent until many years after exposure. Laboratories have to take responsibility for the safety of their technicians, and installing hoods is a vital element of that. At the same time, operatives do have to take responsibility for their own actions and make sure they know how to handle their chemicals, which reactions to expect, and how to protect themselves from that.