Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 12:36:56 EST
Reply-To: ACTSNYC**At_Symbol_Here**CS.COM
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: ACTSNYC**At_Symbol_Here**CS.COM
Subject: Re: Class demo - whoa!
Vernon Hoo CIH,

In a school, you can't take the "average person" approach.  It's much more
complex than that.

As you know, when we protect industrial workers, we apply the ACGIH TLVs to
air quality.  These are designed to protect most (not all) healthy adult workers
.  The industry will only have to accommodate workers that it has made ill on
the job.  It doesn't even have to hire workers who are known to be at special
risk from the type of air contaminants created on the job.

But the minute you are in a public building such as a school or an office
building, etc., the TLVs cannot be applied.  Now you need to look to the ASHRAE
standards that specify the ventilation and air quality for such venues.  For
chemicals for which there are no indoor standard (and that's most chemicals)
ASHRAE suggests 1/10th of the TLV.  So now we are getting into some pretty low

Some even lower numbers that might be useful to look at are the EPA Air
Quality Indices and other EPA air pollution standards.  While these figures are for
outdoor air, it is clear that if a certain level is "unhealthy" outdoors, one
can draw the conclusion that inhaling the same level indoors would be equally

The EPA standards really do address everyone because they factor in all
groups, people--those with respiratory problems, heart problems, children, pregnant
women, and more.

This is important because the school must accommodate many types of
handicapped students under the ADA regulations.  You cannot keep these people out of
the school as a whole, and once there, you cannot put them at risk.  But you can
keep them out of individual classes which they obviously cannot take safely.
For example, in my field, many art schools write their course descriptions to
include the fact that there will be exposure to toxic solvents in printmaking
and painting classes and a recommendation that pregnant women or people with
respiratory problems not attend.

So if you like to do experiments that put contaminants in the air, you could
keep people with severe respiratory problems or allergies out of your class by
making this clear in the course description.  Its too late once they've

In addition, as an expert witness in this field, I suggest you do some air
sampling or calculations estimating exposure to various emissions before you do
demonstrations in front of a class.  You need some evidence of prior "due
care" before creating air pollutants.

I wrote all of this because you said my approach would "bring manufacturing
to a halt." As you can see, what I am saying applies to schools.  The standards
for manufacturing are a separate issue.

It was also poor reasoning for you to say:  "How about peanut oil, should we
ban peanut oil from products because some people go into anaphylactic shock ?"
 No one has ever asked for this to be done. All they want is labeling so they
can avoid such products.  And that's what you need to do in University
classes--warn students in advance.

Monona Rossol, M.S., M.F.A.,
industrial hygienist
Arts, Crafts & Theater Safety, Inc.
Safety Officer,
United Scenic Artist's, Local 829
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes (IATSE)
181 Thompson St., #23
New York NY 10012-2586 212/777-0062

In a message dated 2/1/05 7:57:48 PM Eastern Standard Time, CIHSHOO**At_Symbol_Here**
> Understand your concern however we need to take into account, dose and
> duration.  Hypersensitivity reactions by rare indviduals will always be present
> in our society, do we stop the wearing of perfume because some people react
> vigorously to the perfume ?   How about peanut oil, should we ban peanut oil
> from products because some people go into anaphylactic shock ?
> As safety and health professional, we need to weigh the effect on most and
> the exception the effect on the hypersensitive. Most of our safety standards
> are based on an "average person" approach, if we should start to develop
> standards based on the exception we would bring manufacturing to a halt.
> Vernon Hoo CIH

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.