Friday, April 27, 2007
According to Stephanie London, M.D., the lead investigator for the NIEHS study, "even a small reduction in lung function may indicate some harm to the lungs" and "the best way to protect yourself, especially children who may have asthma or other respiratory illnesses, is to reduce the use of products and materials that contain these compounds."
Isn't it interesting how people looking for better smelling air (better air quality?) end up making their air worse (harmful?) by choosing products that try to simulate nature but don't quite smell right. There are plenty of books and information out there on creating natural deodorants for the home, but probably the best will be to open a window and let the fresh air in (assuming you don't live in a city with air quality problems).
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
- required monitoring of employees' exposure to asbestos was not conducted on several occasions even though monitoring records alleged that it had been done (OSHA issued a willful citation with a proposed fine of $42,000).
- short term (excursion limit) sampling was not done.
- the contractor did not keep accurate exposure monitoring records.
- employees were not notified of sampling results.
- employees were not trained to properly establish an asbestos containment system.
- contractor did not prevent asbestos contaminated water from leaking from an enclosed work area.
For the last five violations, OSHA issued serious citations totaling $15,000. The willful citation is issued when OSHA determines that the employer commits a violation with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health. A serious violation is issued when OSHA determines death or serious physical harm is likely to result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
Preventing these types of violations requires the development and adherence to a personal air sampling plan. The air sampling plan should properly document all segments of personal air sampling. The plan should include the number of people you will sample, calibration of equipment, documentation of who is sampled and the work tasks performed, documentation of the laboraotry accreditations, procedures for collecting samples and ensuring the samples are individually numbered, ensuring the chain of custody is completed correctly, and maintaining these records for 30 years from date of creation. The information from this plan then assists with documenting the proper respiratory protection used by the workers and assists with the respiratory protection plan and the exposure assessment for the project and future projects.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Sent via BlackBerry from Cingular Wireless
Monday, April 16, 2007
A study published in the 2003 issue of “Applied Occupational and Environmental Hygiene” magazine titled “Asbestos Release During Removal of Resilient Floor Covering Materials” by Marion Glenn Williams, Jr. and Robert N. Crossman, Jr. of the University of Texas Health Center indicated that worker's exposure to asbestos during vinyl asbestos floor tile (VAT) removal may be under reported. Because we work in New York (NYS), we are very familiar with the limitations of polarized light microscopy (PLM) analysis on VATs or for that matter on any nonfriable organically bound (NOB) material. Under NYS Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP) requirements materials that are considered NOBs must go through a multiple step process for analysis. This process ends with analysis by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) for samples that are negative for asbestos. This method is required for VATs because the type of asbestos typically used was Grade 7 asbestos known as Shorts & Floats. Grade 7 asbestos is no longer sold and was the cheapest asbestos material sold. The dimensions of this grade of asbestos was ultra-fine. With fiber dimensions approaching the less than 5 micron range. This study was done to determine if there was fiber release at the less than 5 micron level that was not being analyzed by the Phase Contrast Microscopy (PCM). PCM is used for air sample analysis and only analyzes greater than 5 micron fibers with a 3:1 or greater length to width ratio. The study found the following issues:
- When removing a non-asbestos sheet vinyl flooring with an asbestos felt backing the PCM method only reported 5-7% of the fibers counted by the TEM method.
- When removing an asbestos containing 12x12 VAT with asbestos containing mastic the PCM method only reported 2-2.5% of the fibers counted by TEM.
- When removing an asbestos 9x9 VAT with an asbestos mastic the PCM method reported 0-2.5% of the fibers counted by TEM.
- When removing mastic using a mastic remover (TEM levels were between 1.319-1.749 structures/cubic centimeter (s/cc)) versus amended water (TEM levels were between 0.094-0.184 s/cc).
This study shows that air sample results are significantly underreported using the PCM method of analysis. When performing VAT removals asbestos air monitors and project monitors should be using TEM analysis for clearance (at the very least) and they should be running a few TEM samples during the actual removal of the VATs. These would give us a better understanding of what is happening during VAT removals and ensure that the asbestos abatement was thoroughly completed.