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In-depth survey report: control technology for fiber reinforced plastics industry at Philips Industries Incorporated, Lasco Division, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania.

Todd WF
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, ECTB 107-17b, 1983 Dec; :1-26
This plant was well designed to control styrene vapor for the original production schedule of one shift operation. This was apparent in the preliminary survey in March 1983 and is supported by personal sampling data obtained by the company in February 1983. The redesign of the ventilation system for the barrier and gel coating areas was brought about by the scheduling of a second production shift. The most important result of this survey was the realization that the installation of the styrene vapor incinerator changed the styrene exposure level drastically in the gel and barrier coating areas and to a lesser extent in the laminating areas. This has changed what appeared to be an ideal cross flow ventilation system into one which marginally meets the PEL of 100 ppm styrene in the gel and barrier coating areas and substantially raises the exposure of the lamination workers. In the case of the lamination workers, it is not clear why the exposure has almost doubled since the ventilation flow rates in the lamination areas did not change significantly due to the installation of the styrene vapor incinerator. It is concluded that because of the increase of styrene exposure in the barrier and gel coating areas, the reduced ventilation in those areas is an unsatisfactory approach to meeting pollution emission standards. It is acknowledged that 20,000 CFM is a large volume of air to treat by incineration, adsorption or absorption but other approaches to removing styrene from the exhaust air should be examined. An interim approach would be to provide the worker with a supplied air respirator which would prevent the eye irritation experienced in the gel coat and barrier coat areas. It should be noted that this type of respirator can cause problems such as dry eyes due to the air flow and that visibility is reduced when resin deposits pm the plastic facepiece. It is also recommended that this problem be discussed with the State Department of Air resources and the State or Federal occupational health authorities. The barrier coat operator has the highest exposure of all the workers and experienced a five fold increase in styrene exposure due to the modification in the ventilation system. This high exposure is also a result of the barrier coater working continuously in the spray area whereas the gel coaters alternate between spray and mold preparation. This reduces their average exposure to about one-half that of the barrier coater.
Region-2; Engineering-controls; Control-technology; Ventilation-systems; Ventilation; Plastics; Plastics-industry; Styrenes; Styrene-resins
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Field Studies; Control Technology
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division