The Importance of Fume Extraction Fans During Embalming Processes

Fume extraction fans are a crucial part of the ventilation equipment used in industries undertaking embalming processes. The process of embalming involves removing all the fluids from the body and replacing it with a chemical embalming solution. The body starts to decompose quickly so this process is used to provide a fuller and firmer appearance to the body so it can be displayed and is more comforting for family and friends to view. Depending on the strength of the chemicals and the methods used, embalming for funeral purposes can last from one day to a week or more.

Funeral home personnel, in particular embalmers are at risk of exposure to several toxic chemicals daily which could result in temporary or long-term health effects. Ensuring you have the correct fume extraction fans integrated into your downdraught benches and rooms reduces these risks.  Embalming solutions today generally contain a mix of toxic chemicals including glutaraldehyde, formaldehyde, ethanol, methanol and other wetting agents. Some of these chemicals are highly corrosive to metals so it is important to consider the materials the fan is made of, fume extraction fans for embalming must be able to withstand such harsh chemicals without the risk of corrosion. Polypropylene fans are a suitable option and provide a long service life which makes them the most economical option.

Inefficient ventilation equipment poses a greater risk of personnel being exposed to these toxic chemicals. The Health and Safety Executive reports on a nurse being diagnosed with asthma as a result of working with a glutaraldehyde based disinfectant. HSE investigated this and concluded that she had no previous history of asthma when she started the job and her health deteriorated sometime after. Her symptoms included nasal irritation, breathlessness and wheezing and after concluding the cause was her exposure to glutaraldehyde, she stopped using the chemical and quickly regained her full health back. This highlights the high health risk of long-term use of such toxic chemicals and the crucial need for efficient mechanical ventilation systems. 

It is important that designers and engineers collaborate with hospital personnel to ensure the correct ventilation equipment systems and safety measures are in place upon the initial build. Employers have a duty of care and must assess the risk of their staff being exposed to hazardous substances. By law (COSHH regulations) companies must ensure that all exhaust ventilation equipment is working efficiently and thoroughly maintained annually. Installing a fan that is made of high quality, anti-corrosion material and meets the required duty is key to maintaining an efficient exhaust ventilation system within downdraught benches. There are many factors that determine what fan is suitable such as the size of the room, number of personnel operating within the room and the type of chemicals being used. Our Polypropylene fume extraction fans are corrosive resistant and therefore designed to withstand such harsh chemicals.