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Saturday, December 24, 2011

We Wish You A Merry & Jolly Holidays!

Future Environment Designs wishes all our followers, readers, and those of you who have attended our classes this past year a Merry and Jolly Christmas.  We thank all of you for your support and we hope to see you again in the New Year.  Thank you again, for your support.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

What Happened with NYS ELAP Ceiling Tile Analysis?

On April 8, 2011, New York State Department of Health's Environmental Laboratory Approval Program (ELAP) issued an FAQ regarding asbestos sample analysis.  In this FAQ, ELAP informed us that ceiling tiles with cellulose need to be analyzed using the procedures in Items 198.6/198.4.  This meant analysis using gravimetric reduction and inconclusive results requiring transmission electron microscopy analysis (TEM).  In addition, the NYS Education Department (SED) in their newsletter #107 (July 2011) recommended that if schools have not tested their ceiling tiles in accordance with the current protocols, they should do so either as part of an existing or planned capital improvement or as an independent analysis prior to disturbance.

Well its been over six months since this new procedure/protocol was announced, and next month it will be six months since the SED clarification.  We would like to hear if this procedure has led to any new findings/concerns or are ceiling tiles still coming back primarily not containing asbestos?  Please let us know what you are experiencing regarding this issue?  So, far our experience is that most ceiling tiles are coming back not containing asbestos.  What is your experience?
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Read The Preamble, To Better Understand The Standards

The OSHA Training Blog a couple of months ago had an interesting post discussing how to better understand OSHA standards.  The post was titled "Want to Really Understand an OSHA Standard? Read the Preamble!".  This post discussed the importance of the preamble to the regulatory process.  Most importantly, the importance of the preamble in discussing want went into creating the standard.  For understanding the standard the section that will provide the most information is titled "Summary and Explanation of the Standard".  So, next time you want more information on a standard, a good place to start is the preamble.

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Friday, December 09, 2011

2011 Northeast Regional Industrial Hygiene Conference & Exposition

Last Friday, we attended this year's Northeast Regional Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition.  This annual conference is sponsored by the three local sections of the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), the Metro New York, the New Jersey, and the Philadelphia Sections.  It is held typically at Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Brunswick, New Jersey which is pretty convenient by mass transit.  Traveling from Long Island its pretty simple, we took Long Island Railroad to Penn Station, at Penn Station we take New Jersey Transit to New Brunswick and its about three or four blocks from the train station.  Costing about $49.  Probably spend that in tolls and gas let alone aggravation.
The presentations were very professional as usual, though not much of the information could be added to our classes.  Visit NY Metro Section's website for copies of the presentations.  As usual Mr. Aaron K. Trippler (Director Government Affairs, AIHA) was entertaining in discussing what is going on in Washington DC.  The highlight of his presentation was his final slide with this quote:
If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand. - Milton Friedman
The Exposition Hall was very informative and we enjoyed the champage and chocolate covered strawberries handed out by Mr. Steve Matthews and Mr. Kenneth Burns from Unitech Services Group (Thank you!!!).  We were able to get the updated Ashtead Technology Catalog (rental industrial hygiene equipment) and picked-up a few give-aways.  The interesting product of the Exposition was Bomark Instruments displaying a Drager confined space entry monitoring system (see the photo below) that can monitor multiple or very large areas.  The units monitor for the typical four gases (carbon monoxide, oxygen deficiency, lower explosive limit, and hydrogen sulfide), however, the units are connected wirelessly.  So when one unit sounds an alarm the other units sound an alarm, allowing a total evacuation of the confined space (pretty cool! and it looks a little like R2D2).  
Bomark Instrument's Drager Confined Space Entry Monitoring System
The Conference is a great place to go to catch-up with people who we only see once or twice a year and it provides 1.0 Industrial Hygiene CM points.  Hopefully, we'll see you there next year.  
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Thursday, December 08, 2011

OSHA Issues Hazard Alert for Hair Salon Owners & Workers?

English: Example:hair being straighten with a ...
Image via Wikipedia
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a hazard alert regarding hair smoothing products.  You can find this alert at OSHA's website titled "Hair Smoothing Products That Can Release Formaldehyde".  During Federal OSHA investigations, air tests showed formaldehyde at levels above OSHA's limits (of 0.5 ppm during an 8-hour work shift or 2 ppm during any 15-minute period) for formaldehyde in salons using Brazilian Blowout Acai Professional Smoothing Solution, labeled "formaldehyde free," and Brasil Cacau Cadiveu, resulting in violations and citations to the manufacturers and distributors of the products.  The violations included failing to list formaldehyde as a hazardous ingredient on the Material Safety Data Sheet (the hazard warning sheet) provided to downstream users (e.g., salon owners, stylists), failing to include proper hazard warnings on product labels, and failing to list the health effects of formaldehyde exposure on the MSDS.
Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas that presents a health hazard if workers are exposed.  You can be exposed to formaldehyde if you breathe it into your lungs, if it gets into your eyes, or if it is contained in a product that gets onto your skin.  You can also be exposed accidentally if you touch your face, eat food, or drink after using a product containing formaldehyde without first washing your hands.  It can irritate the eyes and nose, and cause coughing and wheezing.  Formaldehyde is a "sensitizer," which means that it can cause allergic reactions of the skin, eyes, and lungs such as asthma-like breathing problems and skin rashes and itching.  When formaldehyde is in a product that gets sprayed into the eyes, it can damage the eyes and cause blindness.  It is also a carcinogen.
It is important to realize that though the product may be labeled as formaldehyde free, formaldehyde might be listed as methylene glycol, formalin, methylene oxide, paraform, formic aldehyde, methanal, oxomethane, oxymethylene, or CAS Number 50-00-0.  All of these are names for formaldehyde under OSHA's formaldehyde standard.  There are also chemicals, such as timonacic acid (also called thiazolidinecarboxylic acid) that can release formaldehyde under certain conditions, such as those present during the hair smoothing treatment process.  Formaldehyde can be released from hair smoothing products that list any of these names on the label and workers can breathe it in or absorb it through their skin.  Workers can be exposed to formaldehyde during the entire hair straightening process, especially when heat is applied (e.g. blow-drying, flat ironing).
As a salon owners, you must follow the OSHA formaldehyde standard if a product contains formaldehyde or any of the chemicals mentioned above, this would include:
  • Give employees appropriate gloves and other personal protective equipment (e.g., face shield, chemical splash goggles, chemical-resistant aprons) and train them on how to use this equipment while mixing and applying the products;
  • Explain to workers how to read and understand the information on a product's label and MSDS;
  • Make sure the workplace has eye and skin washing equipment if products that contain formaldehyde could be splashed onto the workers’ skin or into their eyes;
  • Train workers how to safely clean up spills and properly throw products out; and
  • Get workers the right medical attention (e.g., doctor exams) if they develop signs and symptoms of an exposure to formaldehyde or are exposed to large amounts of formaldehyde during an emergency (e.g., a large spill).
Contact Future Environment Designs and we can help you with any of the above items.  Give us a call, if you think workers may be exposed to above the OSHA formaldehyde standard and you need air testing to ensure compliance with the air quality standards.  We are here to help.
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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

NIOSH Blog Discusses Erionite

Image by fluor_doublet via Flickr
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH) Science Blog posted the following article "Erionite: An Emerging North American Hazard."  The importance of this mineral is that in its fibrous form it is very similar to asbestos.  It is a naturally occurring mineral with deposits in many western states (on the blog post is a map indicating the areas) and disturbance of the fibers can generate airborne fibers with physical properties and health effects that are similar to asbestos.  Residents of Turkish villages where erionite-containing rock was used to construct homes, had a high risk for developing malignant mesothelioma.  The United States Geological Survey found that the erionite from the Cappadocian region of Turkey, North Dakota, and Oregon were chemically and morphologically similar.
Reading this blog post, is like reading an article on asbestos exposure or how to control asbestos exposure.  According to the post, the focus of potential exposure are road construction and maintenance workers that work with erionite-containing gravel used in road surfacing.  Recommendations by NIOSH are to treat erionite-containing gravel in the same way as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) treats asbestos-containing materials.  Train workers, control dust emissions and utilize wet methods, all sounding very familar to us in the asbestos industry, however currently their is no occupational exposure limit for erionite.  Which will make things difficult for those exposed to erionite-containing gravel.  Let's hope OSHA heeds NIOSH's recommendations
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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Kings Park Psychiatric Center Demolition Up For Bid

We realize the Kings Park Psychiatric Center Demolition being up for bid is a bit old since this was announced back in October.  However, our understanding is that the bid documents were not ready at the time of the announcement in Long Island Business News.  Contact Dvirka & Bartilucci or TRC Environmental for more information regarding this bid opportunity.  This definitely will be a large project and look forward to seeing the results of the bid for this project.
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Chrysotile Asbestos Banned? More Like Certain Conditions of Use Will Be Eventually Banned!

Many of you, as did I, read about the " Ban of Chrysotile Asbestos " and rejoiced over something long overdue.  However, after rea...