Safety cabinets store flammable, corrosive or hazardous chemicals. They protect them from fire and keep them secure for controlled use. Both OSHA and the EPA require the use of original packaging or sealed containers for the chemicals inside your safety cabinet. But, even with these precautions organic chemical vapors may still be present. The presence of volatile organic chemical vapors, also known as VOCs, presents a risk of fire and a hazard to employee health.
The Dangers of Chemical Vapors
Every time you open chemical containers in or around a safety cabinet, they release vapors into the air. If a container spills, the liquid gives off vapors until cleaned up. Remember, it is the vapor, not the liquid, that presents the most danger. The liquid chemical doesn’t burn, but if the vapor that builds up on the surface of the liquid mixes with air, it can ignite or even explode when the chemical reaches its flashpoint temperature or above. So, it is important to practice organic chemical vapor safety and clean up spills immediately.
Vapors from corrosive or hazardous chemicals may also be harmful to humans.
Justrite® VaporTrap™ Filters
Justrite® VaporTrap™ Filters help reduce harmful VOCs from the air in safety cabinets. They use an activated carbon filter medium in a stainless-steel mesh cartridge to adsorb VOCs. Activated carbon filters have millions of tiny molecular sites which trap hydrocarbons preventing them from accumulating in the air.
VaporTrap Filters feature a cylindrical design for 360-degree air flow. They have a magnetized base which allows you to position them anywhere in the cabinet. One obvious location is above the sump so that it is close to any spills. Another possible location is next to the most commonly used containers.
The lifespan of a VaporTrap filter depends on the amount and strength of the VOC vapors it adsorbs*. For example, if a chemical spill releases a large volume of VOCs, the cartridge may be spent quickly. Each cartridge has a date notation area on the label, so you can record the date installed or a changeover date. Best practices recommend changing the filter on a regular cycle and after major spill events.
*There are many variables that affect the life of the charcoal in the filter and the relative adsorption rate. Factors such as the type of chemical, its purity and its vapor pressure, as well as temperature, humidity and the age of the charcoal can all affect the filter lifespan. Practice organic chemical vapor safety and check your filter often.
Purchase Essential Justrite Safety Cabinet Accessories Today
At Justrite, we’re committed to keeping your workplace safe. We work hard to ensure every customer achieves and maintains compliance when handling and storing flammable, corrosive and hazardous chemicals. When used with our high-quality safety cabinets, our range of safety cabinet accessories are essential components in creating an ecosystem of safety, so your team can work with confidence. Browse our safety cabinet accessories here.