Safety and Health

Industrial Hygiene
In addition to asbestos, the industrial hygienist is concerned with evaluating chemicals and hazardous substances in the workplace. The proposed OSHA reforms may drastically change Permissible Exposure Limits of these substances. This along with the Employee Right To Know laws make it important to understand the effects of these chemicals and minimize employee risk. This will prevent lost workdays and sick-time, as well as providing employees a safe working atmosphere to promote better productivity.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) is an indication of the extent to which people are adversely effected by their indoor environment. The symptoms of poor IAQ are health oriented and can be as simple as a headache or irritation to as serious as bronchitis or legionnaires disease. The repercussions of poor IAQ can result in high absenteeism, low morale, lost revenues and potential litigation. In 1986, Congress mandated that EPA study the effects of IAQ and determine criteria for building management and design. The EPA has determined from these studies that the large number of variables involved in IAQ studies necessitates a complex system of investigation. In addition OSHA has proposed regulations on indoor air quality using Carbon Dioxide (CO2) testing as an indicator.

The EPA has recently shown that exposure to low levels of lead can be harmful. Because lead is absorbed more so in children than in adults and exposure is cumulative, young children are particularly at risk. Cumulative exposure to lead in children may result in mental and physical impairment. Though many sources of lead exist, such as paint and dust, drinking water is of primary concern. The Lead Contamination Control Act of 1988, required states and localities to test and remediate lead in water contamination in schools, day care centers, and similar facilities. Specific to the Department of Housing and Urban Development are many other regulations covering lead-based paint, and OSHA has required compliance with its work protection standards in 29 CFR 1926.62.
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