Q: "Should we install ventilation for our ultraviolet (UV) light-curing process?"
A: Well it depends… We've addressed this question from an overall chemical-usage perspective since our answer looks at the "bigger picture", not just the UV light-curing process.
When determining the ventilation requirements for a specific chemical or process, you must consider the following:
1. The size of the room. In a larger room, you may be able to incorporate normal room ventilation to dilute chemical fumes or vapors below permissible exposure limits.
2. The volume of chemical being used. Larger volumes of chemicals may pose greater health and safety concerns.
3. The physical and health hazards of the specific chemical. More hazardous chemicals such as corrosives, solvents, or flammable liquids may require venting. Always consult the material safety data sheet for information and special instructions.
4. The chemical state, vapor pressure, and vapor density (i.e. gas, liquid or solid) will help determine whether ventilation is needed, will work, and where to install it if it is needed.
5. Monitoring chemical levels in the workplace. If levels are below permissible exposure limits, there may be no need to vent or exhaust. Additionally, if a ventilation system is put into place you must re-evaluate exposure levels to chemical fumes or vapors within the work area. This will determine if additional protection is required.
6. Atomization of the airborne chemical. It is always recommended to vent or exhaust a chemical if you are spraying it.
7. How often the chemical is being used? When combined with other factors, this could help drive a company’s decision whether to vent or not.
8. Cost. This is always an important factor.
In the case of a UV light-curing process the answer also depends on the amount of heat generated by the UV light-curing system and the impact it has on the performance of the HVAC system in the area.
Ultimately, the decision to install a ventilation system is up to the user of the chemical after a thorough hazard/risk analysis (including workplace monitoring) is completed.