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Biological Safety Cabinets and Chemical Fume Hoods

Biological Safety Cabinets

Biological safety cabinets are among the most effective and the most commonly used primary containment devices in laboratories working with microbiological agents.

Chemical Fume Hoods

A chemical fume hood is a primary containment device used to protect both personnel and the laboratory environment from hazardous chemicals. As a general rule, a chemical fume hood should be used whenever a substance is appreciably volatile, or is recognized as a particularly hazardous substance whose primary route of exposure is through inhalation. All chemical fume hoods are certified by an OESO-approved contractor on an annual basis. The following rules should be adhered to when using chemical fume hoods:

  • Only those materials that are absolutely necessary to the procedure at hand should be placed in the hood's work space.  Too much clutter in the work space can affect the hood's air flow pattern possibly compromising employee safety.
  • The sash should always be kept in its lowest practical position.
  • All work should be performed at least 6-8 inches behind the hood's opening.
  • The air flow monitor should be checked before each use. The air flow monitor should read that the hood is under negative pressure, and, on most hoods throughout Duke, an alarm should sound if the air flow is too low.
  • For more information on chemical fume hood use, see OSHA's Chemical Fume Hood Quick Fact sheet.
Reporting Fume Hood Failures or Concerns: