From: "Wright, Mike" <mwright**At_Symbol_Here**USW.ORG>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] 4 more MSDS and GHS
Date: January 27, 2012 12:35:48 PM EST
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: A <5b9a.38fd8c13.3c52a470**At_Symbol_Here**>

RCF is ubiquitous in industrial plants which use hot processes, and despite the ACGIH TLV, there's no specific OSHA standard. That's because it's almost impossible for OSHA to promulgate a health standard through the incredibly labor-intensive and time-consuming process we have.


Instead, RCFs and all other miscellaneous particulates without specific standards are considered "nuisance dusts," with a PEL of 5 mg/m3 (respirable). As in - cancer is a hell of a nuisance.


We try to educate people about it, and we try to put a stop to the worst work practices, but it's an uphill battle. I once saw a company use an RCF gasket to seal a box-annealing furnace, which is a large cylindrical box lofted by a crane and set down over stacked steel coils. The box is filled with an inert gas - usually hydrogen - and heated. The process affects the grain structure of the steel. When the process was complete the hydrogen was evacuated; the box was lifted; and the now-friable RCF gasketing was blown out with compressed air, exposing everyone in the shop.


Michael J. Wright

Director of Health, Safety and Environment

United Steelworkers

5 Gateway Center

Pittsburgh, PA 15222


Work (412) 562-2580

Cell (412) 370-0105

Fax (412) 562-2584




Visit us on the web at


From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of ACTSNYC**At_Symbol_Here**CS.COM
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2012 7:43 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] 4 more MSDS and GHS


Refractory Ceramic Fiber is in my playpen, so if you want a free data sheet on what is known and not known, send me a postal address.  RCF is on the REACH list of carcinogens and restricted materials.  The TLV-TWA is 0.2 f/cc (asbestos is 0.1 f/cc).  It is TLV A2, IARC 2B, MAK 2 and NTP R.  It would be more, but the human data is sparse because the number of manufacturing workers is relatively small. 

There is every indication it causes the same diseases as asbestos---wanna wait around and watch?  Go to your art department's ceramic studio/kiln room. 

About 50% of art departments I inspect have it somewhere.  Most commonly it is in both the old and brand new gas or electric kilns.  Every time the students and teachers load and unload those kilns, the air sparkles with the fibers.  Ask if they "raku" fire and then ask to see that small kiln, too.  You can watch them do this interesting kind of firing where they take glowing hot ceramic pots out of the kiln with tongs and throw them into wet leaves to burn.  Wear a P100 for the RCF, but you are on your own with the smoke.

RCF can be replaced with refractory brick.  The professors who order these kilns have not had their OSHA hazcom or lab standard training by anyone who knows squat.  Retrain them.


In a message dated 1/25/2012 9:17:39 PM Eastern Standard Time, secretary**At_Symbol_Here**DCHAS.ORG writes:

From: "Wright, Mike" <mwright**At_Symbol_Here**>
Subject: RE: [DCHAS-L] 4 Re: [DCHAS-L] MSDS for obsolete chemical
Date: January 25, 2012 2:06:29 PM EST

The SDS's will be far better. I was part of the UN committee that designed the labels and SDSs. And having reviewed thousands of MSDSs in plants, I've seen how bad they can be.

Two examples:

•         One of our local unions once sent us  MSDSs for essentially  the same product (ceramic fiber batting) from two different suppliers. One said: "Note: this product has been associated with malignant and non-malignant neoplasms in experimental animals exposed via intraperitoneal instillation. As this route of exposure does not mimic the human experience, the significance of this finding is uncertain." The other MSDS said: "Warning - causes cancer." Ironically, they were much more worried about the first MSDS. They knew how to handle carcinogens, but they figured that if a supplier went to all that trouble to obfuscate the warning, the stuff must be really bad.

•         I've seen numerous MSDSs that say: "This material is not hazardous under the definitions contained in 29CFR1910.1200." And then they go on to say: "Use with adequate ventilation. Use only with proper personal protective equipment and NIOSH-approved respirators. In emergencies, move victims to fresh air, summon medical personnel, and contact your local poison control center."

By the way, treating physicians should not depend solely on the SDS or the MSDS, except in emergency response. They should look at the literature.   

Michael J. Wright
Director of Health, Safety and Environment
United Steelworkers
5 Gateway Center
Pittsburgh, PA 15222


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