appropriate. Conversely, a chemical with a vapor density less than 1 is lighter than air. Besides a chemical hood, a ventilation device that draws air from above, such as an elephant trunk or snorkel with the exhaust positioned above the source, may work best.
For radioactive or biological materials, consider whether the operations might cause the materials to aerosolize or become airborne and whether inhalation poses a risk to health or the environment. Determine whether filtration or trapping is required or recommended.
For manipulating solid particulates, a chemical hood and similar equipment with higher airflow may be too turbulent. Weighing boxes or ventilated balance enclosures may be a better fit for such work.
For nanomaterials, a laboratory chemical hood might be too turbulent for manipulating the materials. Also, consider whether the exhaust containing these tiny particles should be filtered. Studies have shown that high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are very effective for nanosize particles. Containment tests for chemical hoods allow for a very minor amount of leakage into the breathing zone of the user. For chemical vapors, such an amount may be insignificant, but in the same volume of nanoparticles, the number of particles may be quite large, and biosafety cabinets, gloveboxes or filtering hoods would be better. (See section 9.E.5 for more information.)
More specialized ventilation systems, such as biosafety cabinets and gloveboxes, may be necessary to control specific types of hazards, as discussed later in this chapter.
9.C.2 Laboratory Chemical Hoods
Laboratory chemical hoods are the most important components used to protect laboratory personnel from exposure to hazardous chemicals and agents. Functionally, a standard chemical hood is a fire-and chemical-resistant enclosure with one opening (face) in the front with a movable window (sash) to allow user access to the interior. Large volumes of air are drawn through the face and out the top into an exhaust duct to contain and remove contaminants from the laboratory. Note that because a substantial amount of energy is required to supply tempered supply air to even a small hood, the use of hoods to store bottles of toxic or corrosive chemicals is a very wasteful practice, which can seriously impair the effectiveness of the hood as a local ventilation device. Thus, it is preferable to provide separate vented cabinets for the storage of toxic or corrosive chemicals. The amount of air exhausted by such cabinets is much less than that exhausted by a properly operating hood.
A well-designed hood, when properly installed and maintained, offers a substantial degree of protection to the user if it is used appropriately and its limitations are understood. Chemical hoods are the best choice, particularly when mixtures or uncharacterized products are present and any time there is a need to manage chemicals using the ALARA principle.
9.C.2.1 Laboratory Chemical Hood Face Velocity
The average velocity of air drawn through the face of the laboratory chemical hood is called the face velocity. The face velocity greatly influences the ability to contain hazardous substances, that is, its containment efficiency. Face velocities that are too low or too high reduce the containment efficiency.
Face velocity is only one indicator of hood performance and one should not rely on it as a sole basis for determining the containment ability of the chemical hood. There are no regulations that specify acceptable face velocity. Indeed, modern hood designs incorporate interior configurations that affect the airflow patterns and are effective at different ranges of face velocity.
For traditional chemical hoods, several professional organizations have recommended that the chemical hood maintain a face velocity between 80 and 100 feet per minute (fpm). Face velocities between 100 and 120 fpm have been recommended in the past for substances of very high toxicity or where outside influences adversely affect hood performance. However, energy costs to operate the chemical hood are directly proportional to the face velocity and there is no consistent evidence that the higher face velocity results in better containment. Face velocities approaching or exceeding 150 fpm should not be used; they may cause turbulence around the periphery of the sash opening and actually reduce the capture efficiency, and may reentrain settled particles into the air.
With the desire for more sustainable laboratory ventilation design, manufacturers are producing high-performance hoods, also known as low-flow hoods, that achieve the same level of containment as traditional ones, but at a lower face velocity. These chemical hoods are designed to operate at 60 or 80 fpm and in some cases even lower. (See section 9.C.188.8.131.52.)
Average face velocity is determined by measuring individual points across the plane of the sash opening and calculating their average. A more robust measure of containment uses tracer gases to provide quantitative data and smoke testing to visualize airflow patterns. ASHRAE/ANSI 110 testing is an example of this technique (see section 9.C.2.8 for more information). This type of testing should be conducted at the time the chemical hood is installed, when substantial changes are made to the ventilation system, including rebalanc-