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Laboratory Chemical Storage: Dos and Don’ts

Laboratory Chemical Storage

Fume hoods can be categorized into two main types – ducted and ductless. Traditional ducted fume hoods are connected to existing facility ductwork, pull contaminated air through the hood, and direct it outside the facility. Ducted fume hoods can be filtered or unfiltered depending on the design and application. Ductless fume hoods contain filters that clean contaminated air and recirculate it directly back into the laboratory. No additional ductwork is required to exhaust air to the outside. They are easier to install, have lower initial installation costs, are- easily relocated in the laboratory and can be highly efficient. They are designed to be installed almost anywhere in a facility where there is work to be done. While ducted and ductless fume hoods protect users from potentially hazardous vapors, they are only intended for use with working volumes of chemicals and should not be used as a storage area.

Why can’t I store chemicals in a fume hood?

Fume hoods are not designed as storage cabinets. When they are used as such, adverse reactions with flammable liquids or other reactive chemicals can occur. Numerous containers stored in a fume hood can impact airflow and decrease efficiency – potentially putting users or the environment at risk. When many chemicals are stored within the fume hood, accidental spills also become more likely. What’s more, without dedicated laboratory chemical storage space, it becomes easy to store incompatible chemicals together in a fume hood accidentally. This can lead to fire, explosion, and other safety hazards. Fume hoods should also not be used as disposal through evaporation for hazardous substances.

In short, numerous health and safety risks are created when fume hoods are used improperly to store chemicals. The dangers of using a fume hood as a chemical storage cabinet are echoed by OSHA’s Laboratory Safety for Chemical Fume Hoods guide, fume hood manufacturers, and others. Instead, laboratory chemicals should be stored in a properly designed chemical storage cabinet.

SafeSTORE™ Vented Chemical Storage Cabinets

The SafeSTORE Series of vented filtering storage cabinets offers an economical solution for chemical storage in the laboratory. SafeSTORE cabinets isolate and trap chemical vapors to prevent operator exposure and chemical cross contamination and eliminate ecological impact from chemical release into the environment. Air Science® ductless technology combined with innovative filtration technology creates a safe work environment over many applications. Activated carbon main filters are formulated for general purpose storage; optional HEPA filters eliminate exposure to biological particulates. The ductless design and range of sizes make SafeSTORE Vented Chemical Storage Cabinets easy to install in various laboratory spaces.

Learn more about the SafeSTORE or see our full range of chemical storage cabinets.


Understanding Ductless Fume Hood Compliance and Safety Standards