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Effects of retrofit emission controls and work practices on perchloroethylene exposures in small dry-cleaning shops.
Ewers-LM; Ruder-AM; Petersen-MR; Earnest-GS; Goldenhar-LM
Appl Occup Environ Hyg 2002 Feb; 17(2):112-120
The effectiveness of commercially available interventions for reducing workers' perchloroethylene exposures in three small dry-cleaning shops was evaluated. Depending upon machine configuration, the intervention consisted of the addition of either a refrigerated condenser or a closed-loop carbon adsorber to the existing dry-cleaning machine. These relatively inexpensive (less than $5000) engineering controls were designed to reduce perchloroethylene emissions when dry-cleaning machine doors were opened for loading or unloading. Effectiveness of the interventions was judged by comparing pre- and postintervention perchloroethylene exposures using three types of measurements in each shop: (1) full-shift, personal breathing zone, air monitoring, (2) next-morning, end-exhaled worker breath concentrations of perchloroethylene, and (3) differences in the end-exhaled breath perchloroethylene concentrations before and after opening the dry-cleaning machine door. In general, measurements supported the hypothesis that machine operators' exposures to perchloroethylene can be reduced. However, work practices, especially maintenance practices, influenced exposures more than was originally anticipated. Only owners of dry-cleaning machines in good repair, with few leaks, should consider retrofitting them, and only after consultation with their machine's manufacturer. If machines are in poor condition, a new machine or alternative technology should be considered. Shop owners and employees should never circumvent safety features on dry-cleaning machines.
Laundering; Air-quality; Emission-sources; Work-practices; Air-quality; Air-contamination; Solvents; Solvent-vapors; Dry-cleaning-industry; Dry-cleaning-solvents; Control-technology
Issue of Publication
Research Tools and Approaches: Control Technology and Personal Protective Equipment; Research Tools and Approaches: Intervention Effectiveness Research
Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division