Date: Tue, 17 Mar 2009 10:35:36 -0700
Reply-To: "Debbie M. Decker" <dmdecker**At_Symbol_Here**UCDAVIS.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: "Debbie M. Decker" <dmdecker**At_Symbol_Here**UCDAVIS.EDU>
Subject: Re: Has anybody ever had this happen before?
In-Reply-To: <7FCB95300E34CD46831A79E87C3B148A016E0967**At_Symbol_Here**NYHCBMSG04.NA.NGRID.NET>

Use a theatrical fog machine.  Less messy and doesn't give the fire dept to
o much heartburn.

We had a building where the lab exhaust was ducted through the open ceiling
 return air plenum, serving perimeter offices.  It was a nightmare!  Finall
y, funding appeared and the return air system was ducted.

In California, the air resources board is setting about banning SF6 use in 
the state as it is a potent greenhouse gas.  We're working to negotiate the
 use of nitrous oxide as a substitute for fume hood testing.  Unfortunately
, it too is a greenhouse gas (though not as bad) and has toxicity concerns.
  There aren't a lot of options.  I like the banana oil idea though that wo
uld be qualitative rather than quantitative.

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of La
zarski, Peter M.
Sent: Tuesday, March 17, 2009 6:09 AM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Has anybody ever had this happen before?


I'd suggest checking exhaust of hood monthly, maybe quarterly, with a
smoke candle. When you do, be certain to alert both your facilities and
security groups. You don't want them thinking the building has been set
on fire and calling the fire dept (I speak from experience). 

You can get the candle at safety supply houses. They come in different
sizes & burn for varying lengths of time.

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Nationalgrid USA 
Chemical Laboratory, Bldg. 1 
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Phone: (315) 460-2114
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Email: peter.lazarski**At_Symbol_Here**

-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**] On Behalf Of
David Roberts
Sent: Monday, March 16, 2009 9:42 PM
To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Has anybody ever had this happen before?

Hello all,

We recently did a major renovation of our science facilities (5-6 years
ago maybe now - it's all a blur and something I'd like to forget).  In
any event, our new facilities are wonderful (given the size of our
school) and we are very pleased with things.  But (you knew a but was
coming), we had an odd situation recently that I will try to explain.

The chemistry floor is the top floor, occupying about 1/2 of the 3rd
floor in our building.  Our building was built in phases, as we lived in
it during the construction phase.  All of the chemistry air is vented
out of the building, no recirculation at all (which is wasteful from a
heating/cooling perspective but necessary for obvious reasons).  Prior
to this event, we forgot that the air paths run side by side, in an
attempt to steal heat (in the winter) from room air and give it to
incoming air as the exhaust air is leaving (energy saving - works the
opposite in the summer).

Anyway, a few weeks back we were running an organic lab and the floor
stunk really bad, and it seemed to be worse on the south end of the
building, and really it seemed to be coming in the incoming air vents.
We didn't think this was possible, so we attributed it to bad student
technique taking their samples all over the place.  Come to find out,
one of the air handlers (things were still working mind you, we have
several of these I believe) had come off it's shaft, a bolt or two
broke, and it torqued inside the cage, causing a buckle in the panel
that separates the exhaust air from the incoming air.  As a result, the
air streams were mixing, and we were in fact breathing in exhausted hood
air.  Note that this is not a situation where our exhaust vents are
located near our intake vents (I have heard lots of issues on that one;
we don't have that case at all nor can that happen in our situation -
which was what made this a puzzling thing to find as things seemed to be

We have since done a temp. fix on this waiting for parts, smelly toxic
labs have stopped in the south end of our building, and we are in the
process of fixing it.  We were diligent and things were discovered
quickly, so there was little exposure, but we did have an annoying day
or two.

In any event, now for the question.  Has this ever happened to anybody?
Does anybody know of a test that one can run to be sure something like
this (as rare as it may be) isn't going on prior to doing a lab that
really smells and can cause issues?  It seems to me that this probably
has happened elsewhere, as the design is not that absurd, though I truly
don't know.  A simple smoke test or a test using ammonia and/or vinegar
would seem to me to be enough to know if something is wrong or not.

Any ideas on how we can test this before the canary dies?



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