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In-depth survey report: biohazard detection system capture efficiency comparison of an existing advanced facer canceller system (AFCS) and an AFCS 200 configuration at United States Postal Service, North Texas Processing and Distribution Center, Coppell, Texas.

Hammond DR; Garcia A; Marlow D; Farwick D; Feng HA
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, EPHB 279-13a, 2010 Apr; :1-19
Researchers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted an evaluation of the Biohazard Detection System (BDS) and the Ventilation/Filtration System (VFS) developed for the United States Postal Service (USPS) mail processing equipment - the Advanced Facer Canceller System (APCS). The BDS and VFS were developed and installed by private contractors hired by the USPS to reduce the potential for employee exposure to biological agents that could be contained in mail processed by the equipment. The VFS for the APCS was designed to be used with a BDS that samples and analyzes air from the APCS to determine if a biohazard is present. This effort was in response to terrorist attacks in the fall of 2001 that used the mail as a delivery system for anthrax. Since 2001, NIOSH researchers have tested the effectiveness of controls for the APCS and other mail processing machinery at USPS Processing and Distribution Centers (P&DC) in Ohio, California, and in the Washington, DC area. The APCS 200 was representative of a production configuration in the evaluated locations under the BDS hood and in the BDS area. The testing described in this report was to evaluate whether changes such as belt speeds, pulley sizes, and enclosures, might negatively impact BDS and VFS functionality of the APCS 200. To evaluate this, an existing APCS and APCS 200 were tested side by side at the USPS Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) in Coppell, Texas. The testing of the APCS 200 in Coppell, Texas was performed as a follow-up to the testing of a prototype version of the APCS 200 conducted in 2009 at the Santa Ana, California USPS P&DC. The additional testing was needed after temporary modifications during the testing in Santa Ana were made permanent for the APCS 200. Evaluations of the APCS 200 and existing APCS machines were based on a variety of tests including tracer gas experiments, air velocity measurements, and smoke release observations. The experiments showed that capture efficiencies measured from both the BDS and VFS were statistically significantly higher for the APCS 200 than for the existing APCS. The mean BDS capture efficiencies when testing at 200 LPM were 62% and 53% for the APCS 200 and existing APCS, respectively. The mean BDS capture efficiencies when testing at 400 LPM were 79% and 63% for the APCS 200 and existing APCS, respectively. The mean VFS capture efficiencies when testing at both 200 LPM and 400 LPM were 98% and 94% for the APCS 200 and existing APCS, respectively. The higher capture efficiencies of the APCS 200 compared to the existing APCS were likely due to the pre-hood, the more enclosed design, baffles, and modifications to air flow outside of the BDS hood. Based on the test results from this study, it is expected that postal workers would be at least as well protected against a biological hazard while working at an APCS 200 design compared to an existing APCS design. Smoke release experiments and velocity measurements were consistent with the results of tracer gas testing.
Control-technology; Engineering-controls; Control-equipment; Control-systems; Region-6; Biological-warfare-agents; Postal-employees; Ventilation; Ventilation-equipment; Ventilation-hoods; Filtration; Equipment-design; Biohazards; Gas-sampling; Air-flow; Air-quality-monitoring; Sulfur-compounds; Exhaust-gases; Exhaust-ventilation; Machine-operation; Smoke-control; Author Keywords: Engineering-controls; Ventilation; Tracer-gas; Emergency-response; Anthrax
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Applied Research and Technology, Engineering and Physical Hazards Branch, Mail Stop R-5, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226-1998
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Field Studies; Control Technology
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division