The best reason for not going w/the OSHA values is that they are so often incorrect and unsafe. A case in point is the OSHA PEL for beryllium. In September of 1999 OSHA published awareness information stating that the PEL for beryllium was not protective of the American worker. The PEL value at that time was 2.0 micrograms per cubic meter, i.e., the same value as it is today. The process of getting something changed in OSHA involves not only epidemiological data but also economic factors. When economic factors are considered, changing a PEL can sometimes take decades…yes, decades. On the other hand, NIOSH can evaluate epidemiological data and establish a value based on the epidemiological data and not be burdened with the economic factors. For this reason the NIOSH value is generally more up to date and more protective of the American worker than is the OSHA value. In the case of the formaldehyde OELs,0 .75 /0.016 = 46.9, nearly a fifty fold lower concentration using the NIOSH value. Also, the NIOSH value states that formaldehyde is a carcinogen and OSHA does not give this warning.
I am seeking information regarding ventilation methods for a cadaver laboratory. In particular, we want to know the best way to achieve low formaldehyde levels, closer to the NIOSH recommended level of 0.016 ppm-TWA. Also, any specific
precedence or references you can share to help me inform/educate the decision makers why it is (or is not) in the institution's best interest to go by the NIOSH values rather than the OSHA values (0.75 ppm TWA for formaldehyde).
All this is in the context of a renovation and expansion. Any information on this would be greatly appreciated, including vendors for down-draft tables or other engineering control techniology (reviews, good+bad). Thanks!
Barry Ferm, CHO & Lab Coordinator, St. Ambrose University, Davenport Iowa, fermbarreta**At_Symbol_Here**sau.edu
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