Surprising Exposures Documented in AIHce 2012 Posters

From Legionnaires’ Disease diagnoses among workers at an auto shredding operation to mail order pharmacy workers exposed to pill dust, students and professionals have explored interesting IH challenges recently.

INDIANAPOLIS -– Poster presentations at the 2012 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition address some very interesting IH challenges. Attendees of the year’s top IH conference crowded the poster area in the expo June 18, making notes or snapping smartphone photos of their favorites.

A NIOSH poster detailed an investigation of five confirmed Legionnaires’ Disease cases at an auto shredding operation, with all five of those workers having engaged in sorting or shoveling pieces of metal produced by the shredding. Standing water was common around the site when investigators first visited in June 2011, but no cases were reported after their recommendations were implemented. The poster shows photos from the initial site visit and a second visit in September 2011, when the standing water was eliminated in most locations around the site.

Two Purdue University School of Health Sciences graduate students, Daysha Braxton and Angelie Kasman, produced a poster documenting their investigation of smoke concentration at a hookah bar. The only comparable health standard they could use was EPA’s 24-hour PM 2.5 standard, 0.035 milligrams per cubic meter, and the average hookah concentration they measured was 14 times higher.

A Liberty Mutual Insurance poster by Mark V. Wiggins, CIH, ASP, ARM, explored carbon dioxide exposures of workers at a poultry processing facility where the ambient temperature was maintained below 55 F. Relatively elevated exposures could be ameliorated through supplied air ventilation, local exhaust, avoiding excessive liquid CO2 use, and tightly sealing batch mixers, he concluded.

Another interesting poster from Kenneth W. Fent, Ph.D., and Srinivas Durgam, MSPH, MSCHe, CIH, of NIOSH concerned a health hazard evaluation conducted at a mail order pharmacy. It used two automatic pill dispensing machines that employees maintained and cleaned; employees also hand-filled prescriptions. The investigators found employees could be exposed to dust containing active pharmaceutical ingredients when cleaning cells and canisters, but personal air concentrations were well below exposure limits.

About the Author

Jerry Laws is Editor of Occupational Health & Safety magazine, which is owned by 1105 Media Inc.

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