Laboratory fume hoods play critical role in a variety of applications. They are used extensively in research laboratories where scientists and technicians work with potentially harmful substances. Academic institutions rely on laboratory fume hoods to protect students and teachers. This type of device serves to exhaust toxic, flammable, noxious, or hazardous fumes and vapors. This is achieved by confining the fumes and papers within an enclosed space and then venting them safely away from the enclosure. Fume hoods can also provide physical protection against fire, spills, and explosion.
Given the critical role laboratory fume hood plays in assuring a safe working environment, it is essential that periodic test be conducted to determine if the hood is meeting certain performance requirements. Several organizations, including both government agencies and industry associations, have developed suggested guidelines for how these tests should be conducted (such as ANSI/ASHRAE 110-1995). There is not however, a universally accepted standard of what constitutes appropriate test procedures nor fume hood performance results.