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Industrial Hygiene Characterization of Photovoltaic Solar Cell Industry

March 1980
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 80-112

Health and safety problems in the photovoltaics solar cell industry were evaluated. A comprehensive literature review and walk-through surveys of 14 production or research and development facilities were conducted. The investigation revealed that the industry appears to be generally well controlled, especially in the area of single crystal silicon technology. Comprehensive industrial hygiene sampling indicated that most chemical exposures were well within the standards. Exposures to silver (7440224) during grid metallization in one facility and to arsenic (7440382) during gallium arsenide (1303000) wafer production in another facility exceeded standards. The authors conclude that the major potential problems relate to containment and accidental release of toxic materials. They recommend further research into the carcinogenic potential of arsenic, cadmium (7440439), selenium (7782492), and beryllium (7440417), all of which are used in this industry.