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Community and Workplace Exposures to Toxic Gases - Current Research (AIHce EXP 2020 OnDemand)

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Recorded at Virtual AIHce EXP 2020


Assessing Community Health Risks Related to Ethylene Oxide Emissions in Willowbrook, Illinois

A 2018 USEPA study and corresponding ATSDR report gained national media attention due to its claim of an increased cancer risk for residents of Willowbrook, IL, a suburb southwest of Chicago. Ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions from a medical equipment sterilization company operating within a residential/commercial area in the village of Willowbrook were linked by the report to increased potential health risks for the community. EtO is a known carcinogen and common chemical utilized in the sterilization of medical equipment for the healthcare industry. Based on findings in the ATSDR report, the community members of Willowbrook and surrounding areas expressed concern about their health risks and turned to their local elected government representatives for answers. As a result, the village of Willowbrook administration convened a task force of subject matter experts (i.e., Certified Industrial Hygienists, toxicologists, and chemical engineers) to measure air concentrations of EtO in the villages, communicate the results to the community, and assess emission controls for the facility. The objective of this task force was to collect quality data related to EtO exposures and provide independent conclusions on the potential health risks for the community. This case study explores the issues evaluated by the task force and details the methodologies used. Presenter: Benjamin Chandler, CIH, CSP, GHD Services, Inc., North Little Rock, AR, United States of America

Carbon Dioxide Levels and Teachers' Perceived Air Quality and Well-Being in NYC Elementary Schools

Several recent studies have investigated the direct effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) at concentrations typically found in office buildings on occupant cognitive functioning. These studies have reported a significant association between (impaired) decision making ability and exposure to increased levels of CO2 (600ppm versus 1500ppm). The findings have serious implications in a classroom setting, since the objective of schools is to provide an optimal environment for learning. If CO2 levels in schools are elevated, the teachers' health and the students' learning environment will be compromised. Higher CO2 levels could impact teachers' and students' cognitive functioning and hinder learning. Presenter: Dr Leon Levine, CIH, Ecothink Group, LLC, New York, NY, United States of America

Workplace Exposures to Carbon Dioxide in a Craft Brewery – Using a Novel Data Collection System

The craft brewery industry has exploded across the country. With the rapid expansion, brewers' exposures to carbon dioxide has has been largely ignored. Carbon dioxide is produced during the fermentation process but is also used to move and package the finished product. This presentation characterizes carbon dioxide exposures in three different sized craft breweries. It will examine the factors that could influence brewers' exposures to carbon dioxide and how those exposures need to be controlled. A new version of a video exposure monitoring (VEM) tool with a direct reading carbon dioxide sensor was used to collect exposure data. The use of this small VEM system worn by brewers while performing their job tasks enables the pinpointing of carbon dioxide levels that contribute the most to the brewers' exposures. Presenter: Dave Huizen, CIH, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI, United States of America

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