Archive for category Aerosol and dust monitoring
Last summer, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted an air quality survey at Union Station in Chicago. The results showed elevated concentrations of respirable particulate matter (PM2.5) in ambient air on train platforms and nearby streets.
PM2.5 is a mixture of liquid droplets and particles measuring 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller. These tiny particles can be inhaled deep into the lungs where they can enter the bloodstream and cause serious health problems. The risk is even more severe for youth, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions like asthma.
This was how many conversations started while exhibiting at conference last week. OSHA released its rule for occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica back in March and many are still looking to understand how it will affect their business and employees.
The new rule goes into effect on June 23, 2016 and most business will have between one to five years to comply depending on industry. The new standard reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for respirable crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air, averaged over an 8-hour shift. This is a reduction is two to five times lower than the previous PEL.
Are we running exhaust fans enough to keep the air breathable and safe? Are we over-running fans and wasting energy?
Area exposure monitors are ideal for showing airborne particulate concentration over time in a designated area. Personal exposure monitors can do the same, but they also provide usable details about concentrations within the employee’s breathing zone. Used together, the two device types provide effective real-time data for making decisions regarding employee health and ventilation control.
Recently, we helped a customer with a large welding operation. There was visible smoke on the plant floor during operation, so they needed to address both potential hexavalent chrome and total respirable dust exposure. They decided to use the TSI DustTrak DRX handheld unit for area monitoring, and employees started wearing TSI SidePak AM510s for personal monitoring.
Do workers in your offices suffer from long bouts of sneezing, sniffling, cough, sore throat, itchy or red eyes and skin, or fatigue — for no explainable reason?
The mold and pollen counts are low. But workers complain of headaches, stuffed noses, itchy eyes, and breathing problems. Do they say they feel better at home in the evenings or on weekends, or when they leave the office during lunch? Is it just cold season, or an environmental illness caused by exposure to respirable particles or chemicals?
A customer recently asked the question, “Will the EPA accept the TSI DustTrak as evidence of compliance with ambient air standards?”
The answer, simply: Yes.
The USEPA recognizes the TSI DustTrak as an acceptable “other test method” as specified by OTM 34, section 2.3.1.