NIOSH


NIOSH Powertools Database – Noise & Vibration

nioshlogoNIOSH has developed an online database of sound levels and vibration forces for various power tools typically used in the occupational setting. Developed by NIOSH researchers, the database provides information for over 120 power tools from manufactures such as Black & Decker, Mikita and Dewalt. According to NIOSH, “The database is particularly helpful in determining the ‘real-world’ noise level of power tools as they are used on the job.”

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For each tool, the database contains a Summary Sheet of results from both “loaded” and “unloaded” testing phases (click HERE for an example). Additionally, the database provides recordings of the noise levels for each of the power tools.


Mesothelioma Deaths Expected to Peak in 2010

chest-x-rayThe mortality benefits of restricting the use of asbestos should begin to appear after 2010, when deaths from malignant mesothelioma are expected to peak, according to a report from the CDC.

The number of malignant mesothelioma deaths increased from 2,482 in 1999 to 2,704 in 2005, Ki Moon Bang, Ph.D., of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and colleagues reported in the April 24 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

However, annual mortality remained stable at 14 deaths per 1 million in 2005, compared with 14.1 per 1 million in 1999. The rate for the entire study period was 13.8 per 1 million.

“Because mesothelioma manifests 20 to 40 years after first exposure, the number of mesothelioma deaths will likely peak by 2010,” the authors wrote.

Although the health threat posed by asbestos has decreased, it has not disappeared, they emphasized. Asbestos continues to be imported legally for use in certain construction and transportation products.

Moreover, carbon nanotubes used increasingly in manufacturing may share the same carcinogenic potential attributed to asbestos in mesothelioma.

In 1975 the Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of asbestos in most types of residential and commercial insulation materials. In 1989 the EPA attempted to implement a total ban on the use of asbestos. The ban was overturned on appeal in federal court in 1991.

Since then, the EPA has taken the position that only certain types of products have been exempted from the ban.

Nonetheless, “an estimated 1.3 million construction and general industry workers potentially are being exposed to asbestos,” the authors wrote.

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Vibration Frequencies and Physiological Responses – NIOSH

jack-hammer“Speaking on April 19 at the Experimental Biology 2009 meeting in New Orleans, Dr. Kristine Krajnak, a team leader in the Engineering and Control Technologies Branch of the Health Effects Laboratory Division of NIOSH in Morgantown, West Virginia, describes results from the first study to directly link the different physical responses of tissue that occur with exposure to different vibration frequencies with biological mechanisms underlying the development of vascular dysfunction. Her presentation is part of the scientific program of The American Physiological Society.

The study, along with results of other studies conducted by NIOSH, supports the importance of reducing job-related exposure to vibration. Ongoing research is evaluating the effectiveness of anti-vibration devices, such as anti-vibration gloves and tools.

Higher frequency vibrations produced by an electric sander (greater than 100 Hz) are smoother than the slower vibrations of an electric hand drill (approximately 63 Hz) and therefore are less likely to cause users discomfort.

Don’t let that fool you into not using protective devices that can reduce your exposure to vibration, she says. The new research study conducted at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests that exposure to high and low frequencies cause different physiological responses, but both may affect the risk of developing vibration-induced peripheral vascular dysfunction.

Of the 1.1 to 1.5 million U.S. workers exposed to hand transmitted vibration on a fairly regular basis, approximately half eventually develop some disorder such as Vibration White Finger, in which a single finger or sometimes the entire hand turns white and numb when exposed to the cold, due to restricted blood flow.

Workers also may experience reductions in tactile sensitivity, grip strength, and/or manual dexterity. Earlier studies have shown that risk goes up with frequency and duration of exposure, although NIOSH studies are underway to determine why certain people appear more susceptible to shorter exposure durations.

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NIOSH Publishes Document on Safe Approaches for Nanotechnology

From NIOSH

niosh-approaches-to-safe-nanotech“This document reviews what is currently known about nanoparticle toxicity, process emissions and exposure assessment, engineering controls, and personal protective equipment. This updated version of the document incorporates some of the latest results of NIOSH research, but it is only a starting point. The document serves a dual purpose: it is a summary of NIOSH’s current thinking and interim recommendations; and it is a request from NIOSH to occupational safety and health practitioners, researchers, product innovators and manufacturers, employers, workers, interest group members, and the general public to exchange information that will ensure that no worker suffers material impairment of safety or health as nanotechnology develops.”

A copy of this document can be found Here


New NIOSH guidance document for TB

From NIOSH

The document can be found HERE

“Research indicates that an appropriately designed and maintained upper-room UVGI system may kill or inactivate airborne TB bacteria and increase the protection afforded to healthcare workers while maintaining a safe level of UVGI in the occupied lower portion of the room. The purpose of this document is to examine the different parameters necessary for an effec¬≠tive upper-room UVGI system and to provide guidelines to healthcare managers, facility designers, engineers, and industrial hygienists on the parameters necessary to install and maintain an effective upper-room UVGI system. These guidelines are consistent with previous CDC healthcare guidelines and expand upon them. This document provides an overview of the current knowledge concerning upper-room UVGI systems and research needs. Information from CDC/NIOSH-funded laboratory studies and other relevant studies is combined in this report to provide guide¬≠lines for the installation and use of upper-room UVGI systems. Although other pathogenic microorganisms may be killed or inactivated by upper-room UVGI systems, the guidelines were developed for the installation and use of upper-room UVGI systems capable of killing or inactivating surrogates of mycobacteria.”