Laboratories are found throughout the whole world offering different services including testing on products, research on environmental conditions, and even medical research that has advanced drastically over time. The laboratory testing industry is a huge market that has seen large growth over the years, especially in the United States. According to the Business Wire, the laboratory testing market reached $72 billion in 2016, and hospital and medical labs obtained the largest market segment for this industry (at 58%). These laboratories consist of a room or building that is equipped for scientific experiments, research, testing, or for the manufacturing of drugs and chemicals. Due to the nature of these facilities, there are many different risk factors and hazards that can be present in elevated levels within the environment, especially the threat of exposure to alarming levels and mixtures of chemical compounds.
Since 1991, every laboratory in which hazardous chemicals are used has been required by federal regulation from OSHA to have a plan of protection for personnel exposed to these chemical agents. Therefore, laboratories will contain PPE (personal protection equipment) within these facilities, along with a neutralizing chemical spill response solution that provides protection from spilled/released chemical compounds in the environment.
Common Laboratory Problems
The laboratory industry faces several challenges, and most of these internal challenges center around the risks of chemical mishandling, spills, or vapor releases within the environment that can impact personnel within this indoor space. Hazardous chemicals create both physical and health threats to workers in clinical, industrial, and academic labs that are handling these dangerous chemical compounds. Many of the popularly handled and used chemicals in labs can include carcinogens, toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, hepatotoxins, nephrotoxins, neurotoxins, etc.
The most common laboratory problems with chemicals usually include improper storage of these chemicals, mislabeling, faded or missing labels, degraded plastic chemical containers, and improper chemical protection and neutralizers within the lab facility. Improper protection is a dangerous problem in labs, as this can lead to a volatile environment that can adversely impact the health of those exposed, as well as provides no solution to immediate containment and neutralization in the lab(s).
Chemical Hazards in a Laboratory
Handling chemicals, both hazardous and nonhazardous, is a regular part of the day-to-day for lab workers who have to be prepared and able to handle any chemical risks or hazards these compounds create within the lab environment. Many labs contain personal protection equipment (PPE) for personnel which can include gloves, eyewear protection, and even suits to protect skin from potential chemical exposure. Additionally, other factors within the facility can be important to chemical releases or vapor exposure, such as proper ventilation and air filtration within the facility.
Air flow and ventilation systems in a lab require extensive filters that are capable of filtering out and/or neutralizing a broad spectrum of chemical agents out of the air within the lab. In some cases, labs have implemented additional air quality solutions in the indoor space of the lab including lab air purifiers like the EnviroKlenz Mobile System to eradicate and neutralize a wide array of chemical compounds in the air produced from chemicals spills or releases.
Common Lab Chemicals
Laboratories handle a wide array of chemical compounds within their facility, with some being very dangerous alone or when mixed with other chemicals in the environment. When it comes to most labs, there are a few chemicals that are commonly found and utilized heavily such as ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, to name a few. There are different risks and environmental hazards produced from these specific chemicals when released into the environment.
Hydrogen sulfide is a naturally occurring gas in nature that is found in volcanic gases, decaying organic matter, and petroleum. However, this chemical compound is a dense, colorless, and highly flammable chemical that can be very dangerous in higher concentration levels in an indoor environment. In addition, ammonia, another popularly used chemicals in labs, is an irritant gas that can provoke reactions to the eyes, mucous membranes, and respiratory tract with exposure in the indoor environment. This chemical is used in refrigeration, fertilizers, metal industries, petroleum, rubber industries, and water purification. Ammonia can react drastically to other chemicals when mixtures occur such as ethylene oxide, halogens, heavy metals, and oxidants.
How to Neutralize Chemical Spills in Labs
Preparation is key, and when you work with hazardous and sometimes deadly mixtures of chemicals having the knowledge and proper protective equipment and solutions will be critical to health. Emergency preparedness in a lab will include the easy accessibility and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and chemical neutralizers that are easily and effectively implemented into the indoor environment of the laboratories. Chemical spill kit neutralizers are the most commonly used chemical neutralization products used in laboratories, and this solution requires extensive knowledge on how to use the chemical spill kit, awareness of which chemicals were used and need containment, and a general knowledge of chemical reactions. Generally, spill kits are time consuming to use in emergency situations, and this can create an even more volatile environment that can spread rapidly throughout the indoor space of a lab.
FAST-ACT® Lab Chemical Neutralization Solution
The FAST-ACT® Chemical Neutralization technology can be safely and effectively integrated into major laboratories such as dental labs, school labs, and other types of laboratories for rapid chemical neutralization that is far superior to traditionally used spill kits. The FAST-ACT technology is based on the use of safe earth minerals that inherently possess the ability to detoxify harmful chemicals. The proprietary technology undergoes a unique manufacturing approach that greatly enhances the beneficial properties of the earth minerals while retaining their natural safety characteristics. As the FAST-ACT technology comes into contact with certain chemicals, the earth minerals’ receptors capture the bad chemicals initiating the neutralization process on the surface, allowing the technology to bind and safely contain the chemical threat in the environment, either liquid or vapor.
FAST-ACT has the ability to not only contain, but to also chemically break down a wide variety of chemical compounds. This technology has been tested and certified for a broad array of chemical pollution mitigation including the highly toxic chemical warfare agents. The technology has been tested by the following laboratories for chemical breakdown and neutralization applications:
- Battelle Memorial Institute
- Edgewood Chemical Biological Command
- Coal Mines Technical Services
- Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
Additionally, the technology had gone through the Lloyds Register Product Verification Scheme for its ability to decontaminate airborne chemical contamination from enclosed spaces:
- Certificate PVS 1400001, dated June 17, 2014
500 Gram Shaker Bottle
FAST-ACT (First Applied Sorbent Treatment Against Chemical Threats) is a chemical hazard containment and neutralization system for liquid and vapor chemical spills and releases. FAST-ACT powder is available in a 500-gram shaker bottle for portability and easy deployment. Wall-mounts and vehicle mounts for the FAST-ACT Shaker bottle are also available, allowing for safe and convenient storage near any potential hazards.
✓ Easy to operate with minimal user training required
✓ Neutralizes, absorbs, and/or contains upon contact
✓ Non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-flammable, environmentally friendly
✓ Advanced patented technology with extensive testing with proven results
✓ Perfect for use in laboratories including schools, universities, hospitals, and commercial labs