Understand your fume hood better today!

Understand your fume hood better today!

Chip Albright |

In our ongoing interactions regarding laboratory safety and equipment, we've observed a common point of confusion: the misidentification of fume hoods. It’s important to recognize that not all equipment that resembles a fume hood is designed for the same purpose.

A notable example is the Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC), which is frequently mistaken for a fume hood. Unlike fume hoods, BSCs are standalone devices intended for safe handling of biological samples, not chemicals. Fume hoods, on the other hand, are integrated into the laboratory's mechanical ventilation system, with their effectiveness closely tied to room conditions.

Furthermore, there exists a variety of "ventilated enclosures" that may appear similar to fume hoods but serve specialized functions. These include laminar flow clean benches, educational demonstration hoods, and canopy hoods, with ductless hoods being the most commonly misidentified. While these units are beneficial for specific uses, they are not suitable for general chemical handling.

It’s also essential to differentiate between general-use fume hoods and those designed for specific applications, such as perchloric acid hoods and radioactive hoods. Correct identification and usage of these devices are critical for laboratory safety.

To help clarify these distinctions and promote safe practices, we offer a complimentary online course, "Laboratory Fume Hoods Explained," based on the book I authored. This resource is a great starting point for anyone looking to deepen their understanding of fume hoods and their correct application.

Join us in our mission to enhance lab safety, one fume hood at a time. Your engagement and adherence to proper equipment usage are invaluable to achieving a safer laboratory environment for all.