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NIOSH exposure assessment of cellulose insulation applicators.

McCleery R; McCullough J; Hall R; Fernback J
American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition, June 2-7, 2001, New Orleans, Louisiana. Fairfax, VA: American Industrial Hygiene Association, 2001 Jun; :54-55
Introduction: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) was presented with an opportunity to assist in the evaluation of cellulose insulation (CI) by conducting an exposure assessment of CI applicators through an interagency agreement with the National lnstitute of Environmental Health Sciences/NTP. NIOSH completed the study by evaluating 10 contractors in various geographic locations across the United States. Methods: During each contractor site visit, air samples were collected for total dust, respirable dust, and for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis to characterize any fibers in the dust. The CI installer and hopper operator each had two SEM air samples collected for each day of CI activities. Bulk samples were collected and analyzed for metals, boron, and sulfate content. Real-time and video exposure monitoring were also conducted to further characterize the CI dust and workers' exposures. Results and Conclusions: Employees in virtually all CI application activities were exposed to total dust levels which exceeded the OSHA PEL, 8-hour TWA of 15 mg/m3. Air sampling results indicated low levels of respirable dust. The SEM analyses identified fibers with an average length of 28 micrometers (um) and ranging from 5 to 150 um. Statistical analysis revealed that area and CI installer, total dust air sample concentrations in the attic were significantly higher when applying the CI dry than wet (geometric mean concentration for CI installer, dry was 74.8 mg/m3 versus wet at 18.7 mg/m3; p = <0.01). Exposure concentrations vary significantly between employees when involved with dry CI related activities (p = <0.01). Respirable dust air sample concentrations vary significantly between sampling areas when collected during dry CI related activities (p = 0.03). Based on the air sample data, NIOSH investigators conclude that there is a potential health hazard from exposure to CI and recommends that employees involved with CI activities wear at a minimum NIOSH approved particulate filtering respirators with a N95 designation.
Cellulose-fibers; Insulation-materials; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Air-samples; Dust-exposure; Dusts; Fibrous-dusts; Metal-dusts; Metallic-dusts; Boron-compounds; Sulfates; Workers; Work-environment; Statistical-analysis; Respirators; Filters; Particulate-dust; Particulates; Insulation-industry; Insulation-materials; Insulation-workers; Exposure-limits; Respiratory-irritants; Respirable-dust
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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