chemical

Dry Cleaning Chemical Solution May Cause Cancer Risks

Dry Cleaning Chemical Solution May Cause Cancer Risks 1

Drying cleaning employers have the obligation to identify and protect their employees from various chemical risks. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a risk assessment report on a cleaning chemical called trichloroethylene (TCE), which may cause health problems in workers who work in dry cleaning shops. To limit exposure to TCE and other chemicals, employers should invest in ambient air cleaners that will extract air pollutants and replace them with clean air to enhance worker health and productivity.

In the EPA’s risk assessment, the agency said there are health concerns related to cancer from exposure to TCE. About 300,000 employees and occupational bystanders may be at risk for TCE exposure at dry cleaning shops as these workplaces may use TCE for commercial vapor degreasing and spot cleaning, according to the EPA. Of the two types of exposure, contact with commercial degreasers may put workers more at risk for developing cancer than when using the chemical for spot cleaning.

Avoid health effects of TCE exposure with air cleaners

There are numerous health effects associated with TCE exposure, which include chronic diseases. Chemicals in dry cleaning businesses can be absorbed through the skin, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Workers who have prolonged exposure to this chemical may have problems with their livers, kidneys and reproductive systems.

With the report revealing the health effects of TCE, the EPA recommends improving regulations for toxic chemicals.

“EPA calls on Congress to enact legislation that strengthens our current federal toxics law,” Jim Jones, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, said in a statement. “Until that time, we are using the best available science to assess and address chemical risks of TCE that now show that it may harm human health and the environment.”

Employers that want to guard their workers against the chronic health effects of TCE may want to invest to ambient air cleaners that mount onto the ceiling. This air purifying equipment works by removing air impurities and then exhausting the clean air out into the workplace.

Air purification solutions could help extract other chemicals and solvents used in dry cleaning operations. According to OSHA, perchloroethylene (PERC) may cause cancer as well as cognitive problems if workers are exposed. 

Indoor air pollution and air quality news brought to you by Air Impurities Removal Systems, Inc.

The Occupational Risk: Toxic Benzene Chemical Exposure

Despite Improved Indoor Air Quality In Manufacturing, Benzene Chemical Exposure Is Still An Occupational Risk.

Despite Improved Indoor Air Quality In Manufacturing, Benzene Exposure Is Still An Occupational Risk.

Back in 1903, German coffee merchant, Ludwig Roselius, invented the first commercially effective decaffeination method. The “Roselius Process” blended steamed coffee beans with a brine solution then coated the mix in a natural chemical solvent to extract the caffeine. Though successful, the practice was no longer used once the extraction compound was deemed unsafe.

So began a globally conflicted relationship with benzene.

Light yellow and at times colorless, benzene is an important organic chemical compound (C6H6). It has a sweet aroma (such as the odor present at gas stations) and is highly flammable. It can naturally occur as a result of forest fires and volcanic eruptions and is an organic component of crude oil. Benzene is one of the essential petrochemicals. Because of its popularity, benzene is also manufactured as a synthetic compound, ranking 17th among the top 20 chemicals produced in the United States

Plastics, pesticides, rubber, drugs, and dyes are just some of the products created from benzene. When blended with other chemicals, benzene assists in the production of plastics, resins, and nylon products. Benzene remains a key ingredient in gasoline.  And yet, this highly useful and universal chemical compound is potentially hazardous. Even lethal.

Plastics, pesticides, rubber, drugs, and dyes are just some of the products created from benzene. When blended with other chemicals, benzene assists in the production of plastics, resins, and nylon products. Benzene remains a key ingredient in gasoline.  And yet, this highly useful and universal chemical compound is potentially hazardous. Even lethal.

Benzene – in both its organic and synthetic forms – is an aggressive carcinogen. The EPA has warned of the risks of all routes of benzene chemical exposure.

When inhaled, even short-term (acute) benzene chemical exposure can cause headaches, drowsiness, confusion, and dizziness. It can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. Benzene chemical exposure can also render one unconscious if levels are high enough. Worse, long-term (chronic) exposure has resulted in serious blood disorders, anemia, and reproductive problems, and of course, cancer. 

The average human will likely not encounter benzene at levels high enough to do damage. However, personnel in industries that work with benzene, such as petrochemical, petroleum refining, and certain types of manufacturing are at high risk of benzene chemical exposure. OSHA estimates those in the following jobs are at highest risk for occupational exposure:

In petrochemical plants, petroleum refineries, and coke production: routine exposures occur mainly to unit operators, tank car loaders and unloaders, laboratory technicians, and maintenance personnel. In tire manufacturing: process operators, workers who store, mix, load and unload solvents, tire builders and tubers, laboratory technicians, and maintenance personnel are all exposed. In addition, OSHA adds that occupations such as steel laborers, printers, and shoe and rubber workers all have some risk of occupational exposure to unhealthy levels of benzene and weakened indoor air quality.

In addition, OSHA adds that occupations such as steel laborers, printers, and shoe and rubber workers all have some risk of occupational exposure to unhealthy levels of benzene and weakened indoor air quality.

Though American companies have gone to great lengths over the years to minimize their employees’ benzene chemical exposure, it is a chemical still widely used and still highly dangerous.

The Division of Chemical Health and Safety of the American Chemical Society urged all business owners to implement and/or improve measures to minimize high exposures to benzene. With the severity of health risks at stake, no effort is too great to protect our nation’s workforce.

At Air Systems Inc., we protect our customers from potential benzene exposure by providing indoor air quality management solutions with our stellar indoor air quality products. For the health and peace of mind of you and your workforce, contact us today for a free air quality assessment with one of our skilled and experienced environmental specialists.