In a scientific and research laboratory, environmental control is crucial to maintaining testing integrity and ensuring staff comfort and safety. This was the case for Vantari Genetics, based in Irvine, California. Vantari is an advanced clinical laboratory specializing in helping individuals and physicians anticipate drug interactions while analyzing the risk of inherited diseases and cancer. While cheek swabs are sufficient for some forms of testing, urinalysis is also a valuable tool employed by Vantari researchers and technicians in evaluating drug metabolism and other issues.
At Vantari’s Irvine facility, pungent urine odors originating in the urinalysis work areas were invading the company’s offices and work areas. The company contacted IQAir to help design and implement a source-control solution that would vent the urine odors outside the building. A team of IQAir commercial solutions field specialists conducted a site assessment to determine potential solutions. The IQAir team worked with Vantari CEO Nick Arroyo and the company’s facilities manager to design a custom solution.
Shifting focus from ventilation to air filtration
The initial approach was to fabricate an acrylic hood that would be placed above the urinalysis workstations and would vent odors directly outside. However, city officials would not permit the laboratory to ventilate the captured air to the outdoors. This prompted Vantari and the IQAir team to focus on air filtration instead of ventilation.
The IQAir team identified the IQAir GCX AM as an appropriate air-filtration technology for the urinalysis work areas. The GCX AM is a commercial-grade air purifier with gas and odor filtration, specifically configured for control of ammonia and ammonia-based odors associated with urine. The gas and odor cartridges in each GCX AM contain 22 pounds of granular-impregnated activated carbon made from bituminous coal. In addition, the GCX features particle filtration with an H11 IQAir HyperHEPA pre-filter that removes a minimum of 99 percent of all particles in the air that passes through the system, and 95 percent of all ultrafine particles down to 0.003 microns in diameter.
The GCX also features IQAir’s New Edition fan, capable of extracting up to 370 cubic feet per minute from each work area and drawing the air up into the 7-foot-long customized acrylic hood. The air then passes through IQAir FlexVac tubing and into the four GCX AM filtration systems.
To control odors in the other areas throughout the Vantari facility, an additional 10 IQAir GC AM systems were strategically placed in offices and open areas. These systems, slightly smaller than the GCX systems, remove any lingering odors not captured by the hood and air-filtration system in the urinalysis work area.
Odors are now under control
As a result, the IQAir systems have removed any significant urine odors from the environment. The GCX AM systems pull air up from the urinalysis workstations, and the powerful activated carbon filter cartridges have reduced urine odors to the level at which they are undetectable.
“The IQAir systems have worked wonders,” Arroyo said. “Now, most people can’t even tell we are in the urine toxicology business because of the lack of smell.”