UV safety - (Jun/11/2012 )
I sit next to the dissection hood in our lab, where people switch on and off the UV light from time to time. I'm about 3-4 feet away from the UV lamp, although there is transparent material (the walls of the hood) in between. I am concerned this might not be safe for my eyes and skin. Can UV penetrate the transparent walls of the hood?
I also thought this was a very interesting thread and wanted to bring it back to everyone's attention: http://www.protocol-online.org/biology-forums/posts/9201.html How many of us check the UV bulbs in our labs?
The light you see coming through the hood walls is not UV, it is very short wave blue light. Many forms of glass and the majority of plastics are essentially UV opaque.
Our hoods do use UV lamps, not that I think it makes much difference, but that is SOP for my Uni, so we do what we are told. The lamps are checked for function once yearly in the annual certification for BSL2.
The UV won't be able to penetrate the perspex or glass of your hood, you are perfectly safe.
Our hoods are checked once a year too- they are professionally cleaned, decontaminated with something (not sure what) that requires them to be taped shut with plastic wrap, all electrics checked as safe, globe checked, airflow and filter checked- then re-certified.
For what it is worth, the UV lamps on the hoods in the teaching labs downstairs haven't been checked in probably years- but they are working ok, we use them for a prac class about DNA damage and they kill all of the bacteria on the plates within 30 seconds exposure (although its only E.coli....so I'm sure there are some more UV-hardy bugs around).
Thanks Bob1 and Leelee!