Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cleaner air in chemical laboratories

Laboratory workers and those in nearby buildings may
be affected by poor indoor air quality.
Indoor air quality in chemical laboratory facilities can be a major concern. Older laboratories in schools or universities may expose workers to a range of contaminants.

In extreme cases, the air exhausted from labs can also affect the air quality inside nearby buildings.

Many different variables interact to change the air quality in labs, including:
  • Research protocols
  • Work practices and individual behaviors
  • Laboratory housekeeping
  • Design and operation of the HVAC system

Experts agree that concern is warranted, since even low level chemical exposures can cause discomfort in laboratory workers.

In chemical labs, workers may be exposed to a wide range of chemicals, including chlorinated solvents, ketones, benzene and derivatives (toluene and xylene) as well as other contaminants.

Complex facilities with complex indoor air concerns

Laboratories are complex facilities that require substantial planning and development to provide good indoor air quality at all times.

Most labs have negative pressure relative to non-lab spaces such as corridors and offices, meaning that there is less air supplied into the room than is leaving through the hood exhaust.

Some laboratories, like clean rooms, require positive pressure, however.

Indoor air quality can become a concern if chemical exhausts are cluttered or used inappropriately, if chemicals are inadequately stored or disposed of and if workers are unaware of risks or are mishandling chemicals.

Experts recommend facility staff and user training, routine air sampling, a variable air volume system and other safety precautions.

Source: Steve M. Hays, “Indoor Air Quality in Chemistry Laboratories”, 1999 (PDF)

Cleaner air in chemical laboratories
The RSU air cleaners belong to
Electrocorp's most efficient units.

The right equipment in laboratories is important. Labs that handle many different chemicals often need some extra help in the air cleaning department.

Electrocorp has developed powerful air cleaners for laboratories that come in different sizes and filter combinations to provide the cleanest air possible.

The air cleaners can be configured for negative and positive pressure, if needed, and they can also be attached to fume hoods to draw the air through a deep-bed activated carbon filter and other filters to remove airborne fumes and gases, including chemicals such as benzene, xylene, toluene and more.

Contact Electrocorp for more information.

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