University lab manages chemical smells on the benchtop because installed lab hood is too far away

Our Winged Sentry, equipped with an activated carbon filter to capture odors, and a HEPA filter to capture particles, positioned on a lab bench to provide local exhaust ventilation for a process involving chemicals described as smelly and toxic.

It’s not as if this University of Houston biology lab doesn’t have a fume hood. It does.

Current Fume Hood

The problem is the hood is not near the actual work being performed. Why is the hood so far away? Typically, ducted hoods are placed where designed-in ventilation ductwork supported the lab’s original mission. However, as lab tasks and technologies evolve, the ducted hood stays put while new work tasks take place on benches throughout the lab.

Effective labs need effective fume extraction that flexes with them as they grow and change.

Small amounts of volatile chemicals

Lab workers here may use roughly 5 ml of phenol or DTT/2-mercaptoethanol over the course of 2 or 3 hours each day. Our interest is the identification of respiratory hazards in work processes so that appropriate engineering controls and ventilation can be applied for improved respiratory protection. In the graphic excerpts below from the National Institutes of Health’s open chemistry database, PubChem, note both descriptions include mention of the chemicals’ toxicities. Also note that the 2-mercaptoethanol and the phenol descriptions stress their really bad odors.

2-mercaptoethanol compound summary excerpts

Graphical excerpts describe 2-mercapthoethanol.

Excerpts from the PubChem Open Chemistry Database summarizes associated with 2-mercaptoethanol. Described as “toxic by all routes,” including inhalation, managing its fumes can be accomplished with engineering safety controls such as ventilation and local exhaust.

Phenol compound summary excerpts

Graphic excerpts describing phenol

Excerpts from the PubChem Open Chemistry Database summarizes hazards associated with phenol. Described as “systemically toxic by all routes”, including inhalation. Manage its fumes with engineering controls such as ventilation and local exhaust.

As-installed lab no longer working perfectly for you?

Researchers often begin new endeavors in a lab designed for earlier purposes.

We’ve found that ductless lab hoods, benchtop fume extractors, and portable fume extractor solve many ventilation problems in re-purposed facilities.

For example, the Cardiac 3D Print Lab at Phoenix Children’s Hospital found that a Ductless Spray Hood allowed them to use aerosol sprays on 3D-printed heart models in their lab without undergoing expensive ductwork renovation.

Sentry Model 400 portable fume extractor as purchased by the Phoenix Children's Hospital 3D printing labThe Cardiac 3D Print Lab also purchased a Model 400 portable fume extractor to “push to the area in the lab that needs it the most,” including vacuum chambers and 3D printers using experimental materials.

Contact us

If you are seeking respiratory protection solutions in an old lab doing new work, contact our applications specialists.

They will work with you to identify cost-effective engineered air solutions.

You can reach them at 800.799.4609 or email them at

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Testimonial: 3D printing of model hearts by Phoenix Children’s Hospital workflow made safer with ductless technology