INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Jobs

Inhalation Limitations

Inhalation Limitations

(OP)
I'm associated with a development project where the process of using the product converts a gel-like fluid into a fine mist.

I'm certain there is the potential that partical size of the mist is small enough to be an inhalation issue, toxic or not is another question.

I'm looking for specification or requirements on the safe limits for inhalation exposure of aerosols, aerogels, and other fine particles.

Thanks,

--Scott

http://wertel.eng.pro

RE: Inhalation Limitations

I don't think there's such an animal, since most health issues with inhalation aren't really related to droplet size.  It would be related to the specific material, so the MSDS would be the first place to look.

TTFN

FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies


RE: Inhalation Limitations

(OP)
No MSDS, yet.  We developed the gel in-house.  Another engineer and I are concerned with long-term effects of being in the same room when this event occurs.  We have brought it up to management but they just pass it off.

No offense to them, but after we do a static test and enter the room, our lungs seize up, eyes begin to water, and allergies start us on a sneezing spell.  I may be interpreting it wrong, but I think my body is trying to tell me something.  Just imagine being in the room during the event, as it is designed for.  And then imagine 2 or 4 consecutive events.

So, the other engineer and I are trying to find standards, specifications, or requirements to use as a means to force more investigation into this matter.

--Scott

http://wertel.eng.pro

RE: Inhalation Limitations

I'd call OSHA NOW!!!!!

RE: Inhalation Limitations

(OP)
Although there are OSHA standards for inhalation limits, even for some of the chemicals used in the gel, this is not an OSHA issue.  It's not like we're forced to work in that environment.

Remember that this is a development program and we are currently just testing.  No one is in the room when testing.  We enter the room after the remote test when there is still a little "smoke" in the air in order to begin investigation because, based on the research that has been done, this doesn't pose a risk.  But as stated earlier, our bodies state otherwise so we hang back for a bit longer for the room to clear.

--Scott

http://wertel.eng.pro

RE: Inhalation Limitations

Given your physiological reaction, I'd stay as far away as possible from the material when it's in the aerosolized state.  

There are lots of things that the end-user might not experience, but the manufacturering work could see, such as acetyl lung damage in microwave popcorn manufacturing workers.

TTFN

FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies


RE: Inhalation Limitations

(OP)
That philosophy works for us, but not the end user.

Right now we get to test remotely.  The end user will be exciting this process manually and therefore be in the room when the event occurs.  That's the nature of the product.  And, not to put too fine a point on it on who the end user is, he probably wouldn't survive if he left the room.

This is more of a political issue than a technical one.  Once we go to manned testing instead of remote testing, this issue will be brought to the forefront.  We could easily leak this information to the customer and our customer would probably force us into action.  But that is not the right way to handle this.  Management is very open if we can technically justify a reason for performing additional testing or analysis.  We just need to find the right specifications that may apply to this product and use that information to show that NOW is the time to pursue the research and not later in the development cycle.

Why is it a political battle?
Because when developing the gel, research looked at all the chemical and they are non-toxic and safe for exposure.  But they only looking at them in the liquid/gel state.  After the event occurs the other engineer and I believe that some particles of significantly small size are created thus resulting in a health issue - specifically inhalation of aerosol.  There is even an OSHA standard defining the limits of exposure for one of the chemicals in the gel at an aerosolized state.  But, OSHA requirements don't quite apply here, so we need to find something else.  If we don't, and it turns out to be a problem later one, we'll end up having to redesign the entire system because this is a key component, thus why the other engineer and I want to get working on this right away.

--Scott

http://wertel.eng.pro

RE: Inhalation Limitations

OK, so bottomline, is that you MUST either find or create MSDS-relevant data for your product before it goes to the customer.  

There are lots of examples of aerosolized or particulated materials that are otherwise safer in their normal, solid forms, asbestos, nicotine, and coal come to mind.  

Other materials known to be dangerous in vapor form are often contained in a containment vessel.  Antifreeze is an example of that.  The vapors in concentrated form are truly nasty, and hopefully non-toxic/non-carcinogenic, since I've experienced first-hand breathing fumes from a antifreeze loaded chiller that was set to boiling.  Coughed for a solid week thereafter.

TTFN

FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies


RE: Inhalation Limitations

(OP)
Duh!  Yes so obvious.  I can take the tact that since we may be moving development into the manual testing phase instead of remote testing phase, that we need to have our safety department create the Product Safety Data Sheet (PSDS), which is just like a MSDS but since there are multiple materials in this defined product, it gets a clever new acronym.  The PSDS must be created prior to shipping the unit out to any external test ranges for manned use.

Safety will take their first cut at it and the other engineer and I will say - but what about after effect condition?  And that will utilize our current beauracracy to perform the analysis and testing we're asking for.

IRstuff, you are BRILLIANT!

--Scott

http://wertel.eng.pro

RE: Inhalation Limitations

"We have brought it up to management but they just pass it off."

Too bad management is so selfish. Maybe if you show them some product and it affects their health, they'll be more concerned.

kch

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members!


Resources


Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close