As Auto Manufacturing Expands, Chemical Exposure Risks Increase

To keep up with consumer demand, auto manufacturing has been ramping up their investments in their U.S. facilities and hiring activity, meaning more workers on the line who may interact with potentially dangerous fumes

To keep up with consumer demand, auto manufacturing has been ramping up their investments in their U.S. facilities and hiring activity, meaning more workers on the line who may interact with potentially dangerous fumes. Whether these employees are performing metal stamping or assembling duties, they need to be protected from the long-term health effects of chemical exposure emitted from manufacturing machinery. The auto industry generally uses engineering controls such as fume extraction equipment to control the level of hazardous gases.

As auto manufacturing continue to expand, equipment sales to support this sector will continue to match demand. The market for injection molding presses in the U.S. rose 5 percent in 2013, driven by the auto industry and the North American manufacturing sector recovery, Plastics News reported.

“I think the fundamentals point to continued growth,” said plastics economist Bill Wood, according to Plastics News. “The fundamentals point to continued increases in employment. Income, spending and automotive has been good. But I think there’s even room in the upside there. There’s still this pent-up demand for new cars.”

Auto employers use fume extractors to lower harmful vapor levels
When handling machinery, such as plastic injection molding equipment, this process could pose a hazard to employees in the workplace. As plastics are conventionally made using petroleum-based feedstocks, the plastics industry is praising the shale oil and gas and boom because an increase in petroleum production means more availability of feedstocks. However, since this material is made from petroleum, workers interacting with plastics may find themselves developing adverse health effects, especially when plastic is heated or melted.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that auto manufacturers install adequate ventilation and exhaust systems to protect workers from gases and vapors in the workplace. For automotive applications, fume extractors can reduce the levels of substances freely floating in the air that could be cancer-causing, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, if they are inhaled by employees during injection molding processes. 

Fume extraction and oil mist collection news brought to you by Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc.