A control technology evaluation of state-of-the-art, perchlorothylene dry-cleaning machines.
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 2002 May; 17(5):352-359
NIOSH researchers evaluated the ability of fifth-generation dry-cleaning machines to control occupational exposure to perchloroethylene (PERC). Use of these machines is mandated in some countries; however, less than 1 percent of all U.S. shops have them. A study was conducted at a U.S. dry-cleaning shop where two fifth-generation machines were used. Both machines had a refrigerated condenser as a primary control and a carbon adsorber as a secondary control to recover PERC vapors during the dry cycle. These machines were designed to lower the PERC concentration in the cylinder at the end of the dry cycle to below 290 ppm. A single-beam infrared photometer continuously monitors the PERC concentration in the machine cylinder, and a door interlock prevents opening until the concentration is below 290 ppm. Personal breathing zone air samples were measured for the machine operator and presser. The operator had time-weighted average (TWA) PERC exposures that were less than 2 ppm. Highest exposures occurred during loading and unloading the machine and when performing routine machine maintenance. All presser samples were below the limit of detection. Real-time video exposure monitoring showed that the operator had peak exposures near 160 ppm during loading and unloading the machine (below the OSHA maximum of 300 ppm). This exposure (160 ppm) is an order of magnitude lower than exposures with more traditional machines that are widely used in the United States. The evaluated machines were very effective at reducing TWA PERC exposures as well as peak exposures that occur during machine loading and unloading. State-of-the-art dry-cleaning machines equipped with refrigerated condensers, carbon adsorbers, drum monitors, and door interlocks can provide substantially better protection than more traditional machines that are widely used in the United States.
Dry-cleaning-industry; Engineering-controls; Vapor-recovery-systems; Control-technology; Occupational-exposure
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Applied Research and Technology, Cincinnati, OH, USA
Research Tools and Approaches: Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment; Research Tools and Approaches: Intervention Effectiveness Research
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene