A laboratory hood or commonly known as fume hood is considered a critical piece of laboratory equipment. Not only does it allow personnel to perform their task efficiently, but it also keeps them safe from any potential hazard in a partially enclosed space. The hood is usually set back against a wall and, from time to time, is filled with fills on top in order to cover exhaust ductwork.
What Are Laboratory Hoods?
A laboratory hood or commonly known as fume hood is considered a critical piece of laboratory equipment. Not only does it allow personnel to perform their task efficiently, but it also keeps them safe from any potential hazard in a partially enclosed space. The hood is usually set back against a wall and, from time to time, is filled with fills on top in order to cover exhaust ductwork. This equipment has proven to serve a number of critical functions, such as the following:
• Circulates air to ensure proper ventilation of the entire area by drawing in and eliminating contaminated air
• Protects laboratory personnel from the dangerous effects of toxic fumes, as they exhaust vapors away from the work area or lab workbench
• Shields researchers from any devastating effect caused by accidental reactions, chemical spills, and even fires
Why Are Laboratory Hoods Important?
It is no secret why a laboratory hood is considered a vital piece of equipment in any laboratory or work environment. That is because it serves as the first line of defense against a plethora of top laboratory dangers. Some of these include, but not limited to:
• Chemical Burns
• Chemical Absorption
• Fire or Explosions
• Inhalation of Harmful Vapors
• Thermal Fire
Perhaps the number one peril on the aforementioned list is without a doubt toxic fumes inhalation. When lab workers are exposed to harmful particles, they breathe them into their bodies. As a result, the toxins are lodged in some areas of their lungs. Moreover, these particles have the tendency to enter their bloodstream and thus result in negative reactions. To ensure the well-being of these individuals, a laboratory or work environment must have proper ventilation, which is something that a laboratory hood does best.
Understanding the Very Limits of Laboratory Hoods
While it is true that a laboratory hood is essential, it does not necessarily protect a person from every possible hazard. An epitome is a biological work that involves dangerous micro-organism. This is why such environment or activity must require separate biological safety hoods that are, in particular specifically designed to deal with all known organic threats. On the other hand, if there are radioactive materials or perchloric acid, a separately built hood is utilized.
Although proper usage of a laboratory hood is capable of shielding employees from all sorts of volatile reactions, it is not really designed to handle all known explosions. Therefore, a work environment must learn to understand the limits of laboratory hoods and, more importantly, purchase the correct unit for a particular task at hand.