NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Health hazard evaluation report: evaluation of aerogel insulation particulate at a union training facility.

Feldmann KD; Musolin K; Methner MM
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, HETA 2014-0026-3230, 2015 Mar; :1-15
The Health Hazard Evaluation Program received a request from an insulators union concerned with exposure to particulate released when handling aerogel insulation. Union members reported nosebleeds, upper respiratory tract irritation, and skin dryness. Two union employees provide training for over 200 apprentices and 800 journeymen per year at a training facility. The number of trainees has recently increased. We took personal air samples for components of aerogel insulation (amorphous and crystalline silica, aluminum, iron, and titanium) while an instructor applied aerogel insulation. We looked at the shape, size, and size distribution of the airborne particulate released from handling aerogel insulation. Over two days, we observed the work practices of an instructor who handled aerogel insulation during training. We asked students, journeymen, and an instructor about exposure to aerogel insulation, use of personal protective equipment, medical history, symptoms, and personal hygiene practices while training at this facility and at their job site(s). Airborne exposures for amorphous silica approached occupational exposure limits, while crystalline silica, aluminum, iron, and titanium were below the most protective occupational exposure limits. Most of the particulate released during aerogel handling was respirable and can be inhaled deep into the lungs. Many participants who handled aerogel insulation reported upper respiratory tract irritation, or very dry or chapped skin. We recommended the instructors (1) educate staff and students about potential upper respiratory tract irritation and drying effects from prolonged exposure to aerogel insulation, (2) encourage staff and students to report work-related health problems to their supervisor, (3) explore alternative cleansers that are more effective than soap and water but will not contribute to skin drying, and (4) provide staff and students with personal protective equipment described in the manufacturer's safety data sheets.
Region-5; Health-hazards; Employee-exposure; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Insulation-industry; Insulation-materials; Insulation-workers; Skin; Skin-irritants; Respiratory-irritants; Training; Particulates; Skin-exposure; Nasal-disorders; Air-sampling; Respirable-dust; Materials-handling; Manual-materials-handling; Work-practices; Workplace-studies; Education; Personal-protective-equipment; Author Keywords: Illinois; apprentice training; aerogel; union training facility; insulation; dry skin; upper respiratory tract irritation
7631-86-9; 14808-60-7; 7429-90-5; 7439-89-6; 7440-32-6
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
NIOSH Division
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: February 3, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division