Technical Topics - Laboratory Ventilation

Biological Safety Cabinets
Chemical Hoods
  • Low Flow Hoods  The major players in low flow hoods are Lab Crafters with the Air Sentry Hood, Fischer-Hamilton's Concept 2000, Kewaunee's Dynamic Barrier Hood, and the Berkeley Lab High-Performance Fume Hood. Lower flowrates are achieved by sash restrictions and supposed improved aerodynamic design that allows for lower face velocities.
  • Variable Air Volume Equipment (VAV) for lab hoods  This is a very complicated technical area where emotions run high about what the correct approach is to balance health and safety concerns with energy conservation. A good place to start the article that was published in the ACS Journal of Chemical Health and Safety in the March/April 1996 issue. It is actually 3 articles, one by Gordan Sharp, one by Jerry Konigsberg, and a reconciliation article by Lou DiBerardinis. To get reprints please contact Elsevier Book & Journal support via their webform.
Other Types of Ventilated Equipment
Helpful Web Sites
Regulatory or Recommended Practice Standards That Have a Role in Laboratory Ventilation
  • ANSI/AHA Z9.5-2003 Laboratory Ventilation Standard This greatly expanded Standard, first published in 1992, includes new chapters on performance tests, air cleaning, preventative maintenance, and work practices, as well as five appendices such as "Selecting Laboratory Stack Designs" and an audit form. Available from on the AIHA Marketplace or ph: 301-283-3064 to order this 111-page book.
  • International Mechanical Code - established by the International Code Council is increasingly being used in the United States (status of code adoption by state). The International Code Council (ICC) was established in 1994 as a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing a single set of comprehensive and coordinated national model construction codes. The founders of the ICC are Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA), International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO), and Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc. (SBCCI). Since the early part of the last century, these nonprofit organizations developed the three separate sets of model codes used throughout the United States. The International Codes were created due to the disparity in the  model codes in use in the U.S. In the past, it was difficult for building industry professionals to move into different regions within the U.S., much less into an international environment.
  • OSHA 1910.1450 - Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories,   briefly mentions lab ventilation in the main text and a bit more in the nonmandatory appendices.
  • ASHRAE 110-1995 Method of Testing the Performance of Laboratory Hoods- Can be ordered through the ASHRAE online bookstore.   Currently being revised with Gary Knutson as Chair. Don't wait for the new version,   it may take several years. Issues being looked at are dynamic testing, breathing zone height, and correlation with exposure.
  • ACGIH Industrial Ventilation Manual, 24th Edition, 2001. Information on supply air effects, recommended face velocities, work practices, perchloric acid hoods, and biological safety cabinets.
  • Scientific Equipment and Furniture Association (SEFA)  Click on products and you will get a list of fume hood manufacturers and other ventilated lab equipment . Click on "standards" and then "fume hoods" and you can download their standard on Laboratory Fume Hoods/Recommended Practice. This standard (SEFA 1.2 1996) includes the non tracer gas portion of ASHRAE 110 . This is a trade association so you are hearing mostly from hood manufacturer's. Nevertheless, it is a good place to start if you are just learning.
  • NFPA 45 - Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals, 2011 edition, Chapter 6 is titled Laboratory Ventilating Systems and Hood Requirements. Order from
Technical Papers