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Reduction of methylene chloride and wood dust exposures at a kitchen cabinet manufacturer.

Brueck S
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2003 May; :64-65
A kitchen cabinet manufacturer in Georgia requested assistance from the OSHA Consultation Program to measure employees' exposures to air contaminants. Monitoring results revealed that an employee using a hand-held plunge router to cut out openings in counter tops was exposed to an eight-hour time-weighted average wood dust air concentration in excess of OSHA's PEL of 15.0 mg/m3 for particulates not otherwise classified and three times greater than the ACGIH TLY@ for wood dust. An employee's exposure to methylene chloride, which was a component of an adhesive spray used for the counter tops, exceeded the OSHA Action Level of 12.5 ppm, and approached the PEL of 25 ppm. Additionally, protective measures were not used by employees to prevent skin and eye contact with methylene chloride and other organic solvents. Both OSHA and NIOSH consider methylene chloride to be a potential human carcinogen. Concerned about the cost of compliance with OSHA's methylene chloride standard and the cost of purchasing an exhaust ventilation system, the company discontinued the use of adhesives containing methylene chloride and constructed their own downdraft table for use with the plunge router. Follow-up air monitoring revealed that the employee's wood dust exposure while using the new downdraft table was negligible. However, a wood dust concentration greater than 5 mg/m3 was measured during use of a hand-held belt sander, which directed a plume of wood dust into the employee's face. The company was advised to implement dust control measures for the belt sander. These results demonstrate that a small business can cost effectively reduce or eliminate employees' exposures to hazardous air contaminants through substitution of less hazardous chemicals or by careful in-house design of exhaust ventilation systems. The results also stress the need for employees to routinely monitor employees' exposures and implement control measures when necessary.
Chlorides; Wood-dusts; Dust-particles; Dusts; Particulate-dust; Particulates; Occupational-exposure; Workers; Air-contamination; Adhesives; Protective-measures; Skin-irritants; Eye-irritants; Hazards; Ventilation-systems; Woodworking-equipment; Woodworking-industry; Woodworkers; Control-technology; Engineering-controls
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, May 10-15, 2003, Dallas, Texas
Page last reviewed: March 3, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division