NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals
9270099 - Control of Styrene Exposure in Boat ManufacturingStart Date: 10/1/2004
End Date: 9/30/2009
Principal Investigator (PI)Name: Duane Hammond
Funded By: NIOSH
Primary Goal Addressed5.0
Secondary Goal AddressedNone
Attributed to Manufacturing100%
Styrene is a fugitive emission and a result of evaporation from resins, gel coats, solvents, and surface coatings used in the fiber reinforced plastics (FRP) boat manufacturing process. This project will 1) assess the effectiveness of closed molding for controlling occupational styrene exposures; 2) assess the effectiveness of the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) mandated measures in open molding for controlling occupational styrene exposures; and 3) develop cost-effective control measures for controlling occupational styrene exposures in open molding processes. While closed molding is currently being used by the larger boat manufacturers, open molding is still used across the entire spectrum of boat manufacturers, including the smaller operations. Dissemination of the study findings will be done in consultation with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), a vital partner in this project.
In the early 1980s, NIOSH conducted a control technology assessment of the boat manufacturing industry, primarily focusing on large fiber reinforced plastic (FRP) boats using open molding techniques. Since then, many changes have occurred in this industry, including the development closed molding and the promulgation of EPA's MACT standard for boat manufacturing. The MACT standard requires boat manufacturers using open molding to adopt specific control technology to control environmental releases of styrene to the environment.
1) Complete assessment of closed molding processes and the associated occupational exposures to styrene. 2) Assess effectiveness of MACT standard mandated controls for controlling occupational exposures to styrene. 3) Develop cost-effective ventilation controls for reducing styrene exposures in open molding processes. 4) Transfer information learned in this study to the FRP boat manufacturing industry. 5) Transfer information from the FRP boat manufacturing industry to other FRP manufacturing industries.
NIOSH estimates at least 30,000 U.S. workers are potentially exposed to styrene on a full-time basis, while more than 300,000 workers are potentially exposed to compounds containing styrene. According to the 2001 Statistics of U.S. Businesses, approximately 54,500 workers were employed in the boat manufacturing industry, with 26,000 in firms of 500 employees or less. The research in this industry is of high importance due to the documented amount of styrene exposed workers and the potential carcinogenic effect styrene can have on exposed individuals. The goal of this project is to assess the effectiveness of closed molding processes. Meetings with industry trade association (IBEX Conference 2003) and individual companies have shown an interest in a study to assess the effectiveness of closed mold operations for reducing occupational styrene exposures. In addition, the trade association representatives have expressed interest in NIOSH developing cost-effective ventilation controls for open molding processes, recognizing that open molding represents the most common and highest exposure processes in their manufacturing facilities. Therefore, this project will include design and development of cost-effective ventilation systems for controlling styrene exposures in open molding processes. An economic analysis addressing implementation of engineering controls, capital investment effects, production frequency, and labor efficiency will be included in the design.