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Chemical fume Hoods - summary

Many of the experiments and demonstrations routinely conducted as part of the standard high school science curriculum often involve volatile substances, the heating of materials, or reactions which may result in the evolution of gases or odors. As a result, these activities may release materials that could adversely impact indoor air quality and create a health hazard for the occupants. In addition, it may not be possible to totally eliminate and replace all the activities and materials which generate nuisance or hazardous emissions with totally benign replacements, consequently there exists a need to provide enhanced mechanical ventilation in these classrooms in order to properly evacuate these contaminants. Failure to adequately ventilate these classrooms may enable contaminants to build up to hazardous concentrations in these areas. Furthermore, improper ventilation of these rooms could cause these contaminants to enter the building heating and ventilation system and place the entire school population at risk as the materials are distributed throughout the building. Therefore, it is imperative that each chemical procedure be reviewed for potential impacts on indoor air quality. Where possible alternatives should be sought which do not generate hazardous emissions or which generate fewer or less toxic emissions. For those circumstances where no alternatives exist, safe and proper mechanical ventilation must be provided to remove the contaminants from the building as a means to maintain the health and safety of the occupants.

prepared by Todd H. Dresser, Environmental Engineer
(formerly of)
Burlington Board of Health, 29 Center Street, Burlington, MA 01803


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