If you need air sampling/testing of someone exposed to the chemicals discussed in this article, call us at 973-366-4660 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for details and a free estimate.
Written By: Robert E. Sheriff, MS, CIH, CSP, President
November 1, 2018; November 14, 2019; Updated November 2021
Indoor Air Quality
As of this year, 2018, business actions in the United States certainly seem to be expanding. The concern is: Is the effort to control the air that someone breathes keeping pace with the industrial expansion? Experience says that air quality control will likely lag behind expansion, which puts the public and workers at risk for work-related illnesses.
In short, the potential for worker exposure to chemicals will result in an increase in illness, worker compensation claims and OSHA recordable illnesses.
Determining Worker Exposure to Indoor Air Pollution
The first step at exposure control is to monitor the air that people breathe. The best method of determining exposure is actual sampling while he/she is at work, play or home. Miniaturization of sampling equipment now allows the samplers to be placed almost anywhere, including on the person. This can be a small, battery-powered sampler or even a small, passive badge sampler attached to someone while a particular task is performed. The testing can be as short as a few minutes or up to 24 hours. Another method of sampling is to use a vacuum cylinder that draws in air overtime for a few minutes or up to 24 hours. Once the exposure testing period is complete, the sample can be sent to a laboratory for analysis.
The proper person to do the sampling is referred to as an industrial hygienist—or a specially trained safety person. This industrial hygienist would generally observe the sampling for at least some of the time so that when results are obtained from the laboratory, they can be interpreted in line with the activity. This will help to ensure a professional judgment can be made as to whether the exposure was safe and within acceptable exposure limits, such as OSHA or EPA.
When interpreting the results, the impact of exposure and the need for corrective measures are more important than the air sampling itself—even if done properly. This requires the input of an experienced Industrial Hygienist or other health professional.
As time goes on, the sampling equipment and methods become more accurate, but the interpretation of the test results become more complex. Thus, as time goes on and testing equipment and methods improve, the need for an experienced industrial hygienist, toxicologist, and epidemiologist becomes more critical.
Sampling, Analysis, and Interpretation
Another complexity involves testing and analysis that duplicates the acceptable sampling criteria for OSHA regulated substances which only applies to workers in the U.S. labor force. There are about 500 chemical agents in the U.S. Workplace that are specifically regulated by OSHA. Sampling, analysis and interpretation of results regarding OSHA compliance must be done by a person and/or organization that can duplicate the sampling according to OSHA methods and be able to determine compliance with the appropriate regulations. Where no OSHA limits exist, the qualified professional must identify other sources of information to determine a safe exposure level. For more toxic substances, the qualified professional can recommend controls and substitutions that are less toxic.
We have the technical and professional staff to do sampling and interpretation.
If further information is desired, feel free to contact us at 973-366-4660 or email@example.com.
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