From: ILPI <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Silica gel dispensing (Was: Toxic dust handling)
Date: June 26, 2012 4:10:44 PM EDT
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <4A14EEF4B27C1A458D48A52027ED87F40DB4C51D**At_Symbol_Here**>

By an interesting coincidence, I received this query from a colleague today.  A very similar question to the earlier one on dusts.  Anyone have handling advice?   Thanks,  Rob Toreki

The group buys silica gel in big drums.  These are stored in our storage room.  They are too tall to use in our fume hoods.  When the students need to fill up their individual jars (2 L or so) they come in,  put on a dust mask and fill their jars.  As you might expect,  a thin coating of silica dust ends up everywhere and builds up over time.  We've just had the storage room renovated,  and I'd like to avoid it reverting to a silica pit,  especially since we may be putting a drybox in there. Are you aware of any commercial dispensers or containment units which would allow us to dispense silica into jars while keeping the inevitable dust cloud contained? 

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-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Ralph B Stuart
Sent: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 9:42 AM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Toxic dust handling

A question has arisen here about the best practices for handling dusts known to be unusually toxic, such as teratogens or mutagens. It appears from google searches that many academic Standard Operating Procedures recommend using these dusts in a fume hood. This seems counter-intuitive to me, as strong air flows around these dusts would seem to create a housekeeping challenge by dispersing the dust around the use area. This could lead to unnecessary contamination of someone's hands as they work with the material. In addition, the ergonomics of performing delicate operations, such as handling dusts, in a hood can be a challenge due to their one size fits all nature.

Prudent Practices indicates that highly toxic dusts should be used in a hood, but that seems to be rolled up in the same recommendation as for handling gases and vapors. It seems to me that dusts present distinct hygiene challenges from gases and vapors. I wonder if anyone has addressed this issue with specific rules that distinguish between these kinds of chemicals?

Thanks for any information about this.

- Ralph

Ralph Stuart CIH
Laboratory Ventilation Specialist
Department of Environmental Health and Safety Cornell University


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