Whenever you need to work with chemicals of any kind, it’s crucial that you first install laboratory-quality fume hoods. Being exposed to chemical dusts or vapors can be hazardous to your health, and even if the chemicals you’re using aren’t dangerously toxic, limiting exposure to any chemicals is a good health precaution. Here are a few of the most important reasons why your lab or workspace needs to have fume hoods installed before you begin working with hazardous chemicals.
When working with chemicals, the biggest danger posed is usually from inhaling toxic gases or dusts. Fume hoods isolate and contain potentially hazardous chemicals to protect anyone working with them from exposure, which they do by drawing air into the chamber of the fume hood. The air, now mixed with chemical vapors, is then expelled somewhere outside the building or filtered before being re-circulated back into the room once it’s safe to breathe.
Fume hoods also serve a lot of secondary functions that can be important not only for lab safety, but also to prevent experiments from being compromised. Fume hoods are often used for spill protection; if certain chemicals escaped the fume hood in liquid form, it could pose a serious threat to lab workers. Spillage will also ruin the experiment in many cases, so fume hoods can also be valuable for keeping the experiment running properly.
Fume hoods’ sash glass also serves the secondary function of protecting the exterior of the hood from small explosions. The sash glass usually consists of multi-paneled safety glass that will crack and “spider” from impacts or explosions without breaking. When working with flammable or explosive chemicals, this can be a potentially life-saving feature.
For experiments that require the use of bulky equipment in addition to potentially volatile chemicals, there are also walk-in fume hoods that you may need to take advantage of. These hoods are designed so that lab personnel can move large items into it for the purpose of experiments, although they are not designed for lab workers to be able to safely remain in the walk-in hood when chemicals are present.
Whatever chemicals your lab will be working with, you should always install fume hoods if the substances represent even a minor health risk. Not only do fume hoods protect lab personnel from toxic fumes, vapors and dusts, but they can also contain spills and explosions and help keep controlled conditions from being compromised. There are a variety of types of fume hoods to choose from, so before you begin working with chemicals, find a hood that best fits the safety needs of your particular experiment.