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Evaluation and control of workers' exposures in the collection and preservation of historic artifacts.

Burroughs G; Makos K; Radtke T
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2001 Jun; :18
NIOSH, the Smithsonian Institution, the Department of Interior, and several other partners are conducting a study of the exposures of museum employees to toxic substances in the collection and preservation of historic artifacts. Based on recommendations from knowledgeable individuals, professional associations, prior studies and internal research interests, three categories of exposures were selected for investigation. These categories include heavy metal pesticides, silica and dust, and solvents. The professional societies and experts mentioned above not only provided support in defining the scope of the study, but also assisted in selecting sampling sites based on criteria developed cooperatively, and subsequently aided in establishing contacts within those sampling sites to facilitate testing. In many instances the facilities in which the evaluations were conducted also provided valuable assistance in the collection of data, a resource found to be of great significance when it was determined that even in large museums it was common for a small number of employees to be performing the tasks of interest at any given time. Data developed in this work indicate: a high degree of variability in the duration of exposures, ranging from a few minutes to several hours per day· a generally low level of exposure to all substances investigated, in many instances <10% of the TLV for TWA exposures· some short duration high level exposures, up to 30 mg/m3 respirable dust estimated to contain 25 to 30% quartz· biological measures of dose less than half of the BEI for pesticides . occasional short-term exposures to solvents exceeding the STEL. Results indicate that this type of cooperative planning and testing provides several organizational and financial benefits, and the employees' exposures were shown to be well controlled in most of the testing conducted.
Exposure-levels; Employees; Employee-exposure; Toxins; Preservatives; Pesticides; Metals; Silica-dusts; Dusts; Dust-particles; Dust-exposure; Solvents; Sampling; Heavy-metals
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American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana
Page last reviewed: March 25, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division