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Exposure to different metals during the demolition of oil-fired boilers.

Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1993 Mar; 8(3):151-152
A survey of arsenic (7440382), beryllium (7440417), cobalt (7440484), iron-oxide (1309371), lead (7439921), and vanadium- pentoxide (1314621) exposures during demolition of oil fired boilers was conducted. The survey was initially a response to a formal complaint received by OSHA that alleged that workers who were employed at a salvage and rip out operation at an old out of service electric power station were exposed to asbestos (1332214). The survey was expanded to cover exposures to beryllium, vanadium- pentoxide, and other metals. The survey included inspection of the work site, interviews with employees, and industrial hygiene monitoring of respirable exposures to quartz (14808607), arsenic, beryllium, cobalt, iron-oxide, lead, and vanadium-pentoxide. Workers at the site were not provided with respirators, skin or eye protection, or ventilation. They wet down the work area on their own initiative to suppress dust. The workers had been hired off the street and given no training. No hygienic facilities were provided. Since the workers were not provided with coveralls or work clothing, they wore their contaminated clothing home. No respirable quartz was detected. Breathing zone arsenic, lead, and vanadium concentrations of one of two sampled workers averaged 0.054, 0.072, and 0.06mg/m3, respectively. Breathing zone arsenic, beryllium, cobalt, iron-oxide, lead, and vanadium-pentoxide exposures of the other worker averaged 1.3, 0.0042, 0.123, 24.0, 0.399, and 0.319mg/m3, respectively, and exceeded their relevant standards, 0.01, 0.002, 0.05, 10.0, 0.05, and 0.05mg/m3. The author concludes that workers at the site were exposed to significant concentrations of arsenic, lead, beryllium, cobalt, iron-oxide, and vanadium- pentoxide. Because of continuing national efforts to obtain more efficient electric power generation, it can be expected that more boilers will be converted to more efficient units or demolished. Demolition of old boilers can result in overexposure to several metals.
NIOSH-Author; Heavy-metals; Occupational-exposure; Demolition-industry; Work-practices; Breathing-zone; Industrial-hygiene; Work-environment
7440-38-2; 7440-41-7; 7440-48-4; 1309-37-1; 7439-92-1; 1314-62-1; 1332-21-4; 14808-60-7
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Tharr D
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 22, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division