NAS releases report on “Health Risks of Indoor Exposure to Particulate Matter”
Jul14

NAS releases report on “Health Risks of Indoor Exposure to Particulate Matter”

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine this week released a report from a workshop focusing on the “Health Risks of Indoor Exposure to Particulate Matter.” From the description: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines PM as a mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets comprising a number of components, including “acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, soil or dust particles, and allergens (such as fragments of pollen and mold spores)”. The health effects of outdoor exposure to particulate matter (PM) are the subject of both research attention and regulatory action. Although much less studied to date, indoor exposure to PM is gaining attention as a potential source of adverse health effects. Indoor PM can originate from outdoor particles and also from various indoor sources, including heating, cooking, and smoking. Levels of indoor PM have the potential to exceed outdoor PM levels. Understanding the major features and subtleties of indoor exposures to particles of outdoor origin can improve our understanding of the exposure–response relationship on which ambient air pollutant standards are based. The EPA’s Indoor Environments Division commissioned the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to hold a workshop examining the issue of indoor exposure to PM more comprehensively and considering both the health risks and possible intervention strategies. Participants discussed the ailments that are most affected by particulate matter and the attributes of the exposures that are of greatest concern, exposure modifiers, vulnerable populations, exposure assessment, risk management, and gaps in the science. This report summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop. I don’t see anything in it that specifically addresses articulate matter exposure in laboratories, but some of the ways to mitigate particulate exposure might work in lab...

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“Improve lab safety culture” webinar
Jun14

“Improve lab safety culture” webinar

Coming up on June 30 is a webinar “to familiarize EH&S professionals and researchers” with the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU) “Guide to implementing a Safety Culture in our Universities” that came out in April. From the webinar registration page: Learning Objectives: • What is the APLU/AAU Guide to Implementing a Safety Culture in Our Universities, and how is it different from other guidelines that came before (e.g., NAS and ACS guidelines)? • What is the role of the President or Chancellor, VPR, and EH&S leadership in implementing the recommendations? • How can EH&S best engage campus leadership and researchers in learning about and helping implement the guidelines and toolkit? • What are the recommendations and tools available to EH&S for developing or improving a culture of lab safety? • How can the research and health & safety communities get involved in updating the Guide by adding tools and resources? The moderator will be: Nancy Wayne, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Professor of Physiology, University of California, Los Angeles; APLU Lab Safety Task Force Member The panelists will be: Mark McClellan, Vice President for Research and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, Utah State University; APLU Lab Safety Task Force Co-Chair Taylor Eighmy, Vice Chancellor for Research & Engagement, University of Tennessee, Knoxville; APLU Lab Safety Task Force Co-Chair Kacy Redd, Director, Science & Mathematics Education Policy, APLU; APLU Lab Safety Task Force...

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Process safety newsletters
May17

Process safety newsletters

From AIChE’s Center for Chemical Process Safety, the “Process Safety Beacons” so far this year: Hydrate Hazards – “When a hydrate forms it can plug piping, instrument connections, valves, and other equipment causing process upsets which may be hazardous. … Clearing a blockage from hydrate formation could be a routine or non-routine work activity that is hazardous if not done properly.” Still Overflowing Tanks! – “With all of the complex operations going on in many process facilities, it is surprising that putting more material into a tank than will fit is a frequent contributor to major incidents.” Safety Device or Control Device? – “Supervisors decided that the operator could be given other work to do while the tank was filling since there was a high level shutdown. No management of change review was done. A device that was intended to be a second layer of protection became the primary control. When the high level instrument failed, there was nobody in the area and the spill was actually larger.” Plugged Flame Arrester Causes Explosion – “The flame arrester on an oil tank was corroded and plugged with deposits. This resulted in the tank ‘breathing’ through a sample hatch at the tank rather than through the flame arrester as intended. When it was hot, during the day, vapors would exit the tank through the hatch.” More Repeat Incidents! – “If you use any hazardous materials, or if your process operates at hazardous conditions, you should understand what incidents have happened in the past with the materials and process conditions in your...

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“Applying a lab safety culture to nanotechnology” webinar
May12

“Applying a lab safety culture to nanotechnology” webinar

The U.S. National Nanotechnology Coordination Office is launching what it’s calling the “NanoEHS Webinar Series.” The first one is “Applying a Lab Safety Culture to Nanotechnology: Educating the Next Generation of Nanoscientists”. It will be held on Wednesday, May 18, starting at 11 AM Pacific/2 PM Eastern. Here’s the description: The first webinar will discuss how an effective culture of safety in the research laboratory facilitates safe and responsible nanomaterial research and supports the [National Nanotechnology Initiative] goal of responsible development. Other major goals of this webinar are to build awareness of existing information resources; facilitate safe nanotechnology practices within the overall lab safety culture; engage industry in the discussion by sharing practices and expectations; and ensure that safety training in academia is viewed as an important job skill. Who: Speakers at the event will include: Moderator • Charles L. Geraci, Jr. – Associate Director for Nanotechnology and co-manager of the Nanotechnology Research Center at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Panelists • Keith J. Watson – Vice President of Core Research and Development at Dow Chemical Company • Larry Gibbs – Associate Vice Provost for Environmental Health and Safety at Stanford University • Craig Merlic – Associate Professor of Chemistry and Executive Director for the UCLA Center for Laboratory Safety • Lori Seiler – Associate Director for Global R&D EHS at Dow Chemical Company Register for the webinar...

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University leaders should be responsible for lab safety, report says
Apr14

University leaders should be responsible for lab safety, report says

From Andrea Widener’s story in C&EN: Presidents and chancellors of U.S. universities must take personal responsibility for changing the lab safety culture in academia, a new report says. The document, published by the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU), challenges top university officials to create high-level committees responsible for lab safety, to modify tenure and promotion requirements to include safety, and to promote open commutation about accidents and near-misses on campuses. Although the report contains other recommendations, the ones putting emphasis on university officials’ accountability are being viewed as most important by the report’s authors and other safety experts. Read Andrea’s story for more, or check out the report...

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Journal of Chemical Health & Safety’s March-April issue
Apr05

Journal of Chemical Health & Safety’s March-April issue

Here’s what’s in the March-April issue of the Journal of Chemical Health & Safety: Editorial: Always the right time to do the right thing, by Harry J. Elston Case study – A two liter pyridine spill in an undergraduate laboratory, by Barrett Eichler (Augustana University) Operating experience review of an Idaho National Laboratory gas monitoring system, by L.C. Cadwallader, K.G. DeWall, and J.S. Herring (Idaho National Laboratory) Results of survey among SEVESO establishments in the Slovak Republic, by Katarina Holla, Jozef Ristvej, Valeria Moricova, and Ladislav Novak (University of Zilina) What to expect when you’re inspecting: A summary of academic laboratory inspection programs, by Ryan Wyllie, Kendra Lee, and Bethzayda Matos (Iowa State University); and Sarah Morris-Benavides (Ames Laboratory) Suitability of polycarbonate safety glasses for UV laser eye protection, by John Jankovic, Michael D. Biegalski, and Scott M. Hollenbeck (Oak Ridge National Laboratory); and Burton R. Ogle, Tracy L. Zontek, and Tina M. Wells (Western Carolina University) Propylene, by William E. Luttrell and Nathaniel P. Giles (Oklahoma Christian University) Process safety: More to process safety than regulations, by Dennis C. Hendershot (AIChE’s Center for Chemical Process Safety) EH&S: Pay attention, by Neal Langerman (Advanced Chemical...

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