An overview of SIFT-MS and its suitability for Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) applications, particularly chemical exposure monitoring.
Introduction to Occupational Chemical Exposure (OSH)
Chemical exposure monitoring of workers is receiving increasing attention from Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) regulators. Various methods – such as photoionization detectors (PIDs), chemical indicator tubes and gas chromatography (GC) – have traditionally been used to OSH monitoring and compliance. The results have been mixed.
Modern society relies on a range of industries that produce or use chemicals of varying toxicities, such as in the paint, printing and agrochemical industries. Protect2ing workers from unsafe exposure to these chemicals is increasingly capturing the attention of regulators, employers, and the workers themselves. This attention has highlighted the role of occupational safety and health (OSH) regulation, particularly with regard to identification and enforcement of minimum air quality standards for workplaces.
For situations where workers’ exposure to hazardous substances cannot be practically eliminated, National OSH regulators publish standards listing maximum permissible exposure levels. Table 1 lists some national and international organizations that set or recommend these standards, together with the terminology they use. These standards are produced based on available evidence linking chemical exposure to short- or long-term health effects.
In reality, occupational exposure standards are continually revised as the accumulation of toxicity data grows. For example, results of a study published in 2004 indicated benzene had detrimental effects on white blood cells at lower levels than were previously realized1. White blood cell counts were found to decline in workers exposed to average benzene levels as low as 0.57 part per million (ppm), whereas the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) at the time was 1 ppm.
|Organization||Country or region||Exposure Limit Name|
|National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC)||Australia||National Exposure Standards|
|European Agency for Safety and Health at Work||European Community||Occupational Exposure Limits|
|Japanese Association of Industrial Health||Japan||Permissible Exposure Limits|
|Occupational Safety and Health Service||New Zealand||Workplace Exposure Standards|
|Health and Safety Executive (HSE)||UK||Occupational Exposure Standards|
|National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)||USA||Recommended Exposure Limits|
|Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)||USA||Permissible Exposure Limits|
|American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH)||USA||Threshold Limit Values|