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2012 Annual Air Sampling Report, Case Study Example

Pages: 3

Words: 694

Case Study

The purpose of the exposure assessment “2012 Annual Air Sampling Report” is to determine which chemicals enter the atmosphere as a consequence of the printing process. An analysis of a variety of chemicals that are released from printing procedures in addition to an analysis of an effect on ozone was determined in several locations to serve as an overall sample of the environmental impact of this process. This particular exposure assessment was conducted to determine if the printing process needs to be altered to reduce its impact on the environment. It is necessary for printing firms to remain in compliance with chemical and environmental regulations, so this air sampling report provides data to these companies to allow them to understand whether or not these requirements are being met. To gather an ideal sense of potential air contamination, this report utilized both personal and area sampling. Personal sampling was conducted because the previous year’s results indicated that sampling results were “at or below 50% of the applicable PEL”. Thus, there was a need reevaluate this statistic in the context of more recent practices. Furthermore, a combination of personal and area samples were utilized to determine the consistency of the results generated, thereby indicating potential impact on the employees that work directly with these potentially hazardous chemicals.

The chemicals that were sampled include n-propyl alcohol and n-propyl acetate. n-propyl alcohol is hazardous through dermal contact and inhalation. This chemical is used daily and contact can be prevented by using gloves. Likewise, n-propyl acetate is also hazardous through dermal contact and inhalation and is used with the same frequency as n-propyl alcohol. However, contact with n-propyl alcohol is potentially more hazardous, and can cause irritation, drowsiness, headache, vomiting, ataxia, gastrointestinal pain, and more. n-propyl acetate has overlapping, but more mild symptoms, including irritation and dermatitis. The most common routes of exposure in the printing industry is through inhalation from the prevalence of the chemicals in the air in addition to direct contact with the skin from printing materials.

Five personal samples and one area sample was collected. Air sampling was conducted using a pump connected to equipment for direct analysis. All pumps were calibrated to ensure correct measurements and placed in locations in which employees spend a majority of their time in order to accurately reflect their exposures to these chemicals. An additive formula method was used for both chemicals. The additive formula concentration calculation is determined by: ““*” = % PEL calculated using OSHA additive formula: (concentration of contaminant 1 divided by OSHA PEL for contaminant 1) + (concentration of contaminant 2 divided by OSHA PEL for contaminant 2)”, which yielded different results depending on the measured concentration. Overall, the area met OSHA standards, but the extent of exposure differed for each employee sampled in the testing.

While there were no surprising findings during the analysis, the organization found that some measurements were close to the 50% PEL. Thus, the company will be taking action to ensure that standards continue to be upheld in the following years. The relevant recommendations include sharing sampling information with employees, continuing the air sampling program, and conducting a separate study to evaluate ozone concentrations. While the study appears comprehensive, it may be beneficial to utilize a greater number of personal samples in the future to be more reflective of the overall population within the organization. These exact values are not expected to precisely reflect the exposure frequency of other individuals in this workplace. Thus, it would be valuable to use a power analysis to determine the sample size needed to make the study reflective of this population. The target audience would be the safety officers in the organization, who are put in place to ensure that OSHA standards are being met. Even though this information is not meant to be shared with OSHA, it is published within the company to ensure that standards are met and that the company will be approved as safe if an investigation is necessary. The information is also beneficial to provide to the workers so they can reduce contact with chemicals while still carrying out their basic job functions.

References

ACME Printing Corporation. (2012). 2012 Annual Air Sampling Report. PDF.

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