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A mysterious yellow-white paste: evaluation of an unanticipated contaminant.
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 1996 Dec; 11(12):1371-1375
The potential and unanticipated exposure to arsenic (7440382) contaminants detected in an uranium enrichment process was examined. Employees discovered an unusual deposit described as a yellow/white paste blocking instrument lines. The paste was identified as arsenic-pentoxide (1303282). NIOSH performed a health hazards evaluation at the site, which assessed the airborne levels of arsenic compounds. Personal and area air samples were collected at three locations in one process building and at one location in the converter maintenance facility. Time weighted average (TWA) exposures were calculated. Personal exposure to arsenic among workers removing an evacuation booster valve varied from 1 to 109 micrograms per cubic meter (microg/m3), with an average exposure level of 37microg/m3. A chemical operator who performed the decontamination process had the highest exposure level. The 8 hour TWAs calculated for all samples ranged from below detection to 22microg/m3 of arsenic. All employees working within the radiological contamination areas wore personal protective clothing. In addition, most workers wore supplied air respiratory protection. The personal samplers were worn outside of the garments. The author concludes that the monitoring of arsenic exposure at this workplace should focus on reducing and maintaining arsenic at the lowest possible concentration.
NIOSH-Author; Occupational-exposure; Air-samples; Workplace-monitoring; Workplace-studies; Industrial-hazards; Industrial-exposures; Personal-protective-equipment; Arsenic-compounds; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Time-weighted-average-exposure
Issue of Publication
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division