The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has disclosed actuarial figures that showed that laboratory personnel have a lifespan ten years shorter than the normal average.1 Part of OSHA's final rule on Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Laboratories published on January 31, 1990 states "there is a clear national problem related to occupational safety and health for employees exposed to hazardous chemicals in laboratories." The concern that laboratory employees' health is being seriously jeopardized is one shared throughout the industrialized world.
Fume hoods, safety glasses, and other personal protection equipment (PPE) are provided to laboratory employees by employers to protect their workers from toxic and hazardous substances encountered during their workday. Workers trust that these safety devices are protecting them from harm. Unfortunately, the protection may only be true with regard to the safety glasses and some other PPE devices supplied by employers, but not the fume hoods.