A university art department that was planning to install a ventilation system in its print making shop requested a health hazard evaluation of the potential exposures of students and instructors to hazards in the studios. The design materials classroom was sampled for wood dust, noise, and respirable silica (14808607) during sandblasting as well as toluene (108883) vapors during spray painting. Wood dust levels ranged from 15.6 to 45.8mg/m3 throughout the period of sampling. The amount of dust was excessive even for 15 minute exposures. There was no dilution ventilation system, and air movement was provided by local exhaust ventilation. Hand tools were recommended. Noise levels exceeded OSHA permissible exposure limits. NIOSH approved hearing protection was recommended for use until permanent changes were made. Silica levels inside the paint room during sandblasting were as high as 96 times the NIOSH recommended standard for respirable silica. The instructor was notified of the hazard, and the use of substitute abrasives was recommended. Toluene, known to cause dermatitis and nervous system disorders, was present in the spray paint. Solvent vapor exposures during spray painting were higher inside the painting room. A darkroom used for photoetching had methyl- cellosolve-acetate (110496) vapors at a median concentration of 28 parts per million (ppm) and a maximum of 45ppm. Sculpture students using a foundry did not use any protective equipment although much smoke and fumes were produced during pouring and knockout. The authors recommend that appropriate protective clothing should be worn and proper ventilation should be installed, to protect against the many hazardous materials present.
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