The U.S. alone possesses over 45% of the global pharmaceutical market. We are able to exercise such power and control thanks to our dedication to precision; our GMP quality control and clean room standards allow us to ensure that our pharmaceutical products are safe to use and of excellent quality. Though there are many factors that go into this assurance, none is more important than the state of a laboratory’s fume hood.
Fume hoods perform two main functions: they guarantee chemical purity and keep laboratory technicians safe by removing air contaminants from the production area. However, fume hoods need to be in tip-top shape to do their jobs, and surveys have found that roughly one-fifth of them need to be replaced. Let’s take a look at three of the major signs that indicate it’s time to do the same with yours.
- Failed Safety Tests: Fume hoods are required to undergo annual filtration tests to make sure they’re doing their job. If your hood fails to pass but you know that the filters are in new or good condition, there’s a good chance that your hood is breaking down. Older fume hoods don’t have the technological or safety features that modern-day hoods possess, so upgrading is always worth the cost.
- Old Age: Age matters, most notably because we’ve come a long way technologically since the first fume hoods were being made. If you push their applications and try to use them with chemicals that they weren’t designed for, you may discover a buildup on the viewing glass, scratched and corroded interior, and corroded internal parts — all of which compromise the machine’s safe operation.
- Material Degradation: Sometimes, things just fall apart. If you notice discoloration of the material inside the hood, etches or scratches, or fogging windows, it’s a sure sign that the structure has become weakened and is becoming unsafe. Another indication is a loud fan that makes noises or inconsistent spinning speeds; it’s telling you that internal parts of the hood have begun to degrade.
Whether your work involves GMP synthesis or radiolabeling, the health of your fume hoods is essential. Keep an eye out for the above issues, and you’ll never run into any problems.