UBC Undergraduate Research

Ductless fume hoods research Lee, Janet


Fume hoods are the primary engineering control used to minimize worker exposure to airborne contaminants such as fumes, vapours and particulate. Typical fume hoods installed at UBC are costly to run in terms of both energy and money due to the large amounts of conditioned air that is exhausted out of the lab. A previous SEEDS project identified potential for energy savings through the use of ductless fume hoods instead of conventional fume hoods (Gretka, 2012). Ductless fume hoods employ charcoal filters to remove vapours from the contaminated air and allow the filtered air to re-enter the lab space. The current report seeks to understand the current research with regards to these ductless hoods as well as WorkSafeBC regulations and applications of these hoods in other industries. WorkSafeBC regulation does not permit recirculation of carcinogens, reproductive toxins, sensitizers or substances whose exposures are to be kept as low as reasonable achievable (Part 5 Chemical Agents and Biological Agents: Ventilation 5.70 and section 5.57(1)). Overall, contacted individuals, other universities and information from literature express concerns over the limitations of the carbon filters and strongly discourage (and in some cases prohibit) the use of ductless fume hoods. Current literature discussing the performance of ductless fume hoods is extremely limited. In summary, the use of ductless fume hoods cannot safely replace all conventional ducted fume hoods. There is however a possibility of obtaining a variance from WSBC if the ductless hoods can be attached to a pre-existing general exhaust system and the substances being used in the hoods are of low toxicity and low volume. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada