Industrial Hygiene

Industrial Hygiene (IH) is primarily concerned with the control of occupational health hazards.

We currently offer the following IH Laboratory services:

IH has been defined as “that science and art devoted to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, and control ofthose environmental factors or stresses in the workplace, which may cause sickness, impaired health and well-being, or significant discomfort among workers or those living among them.”

The development of industrial hygiene sciences is linked to the continued development of environmental laboratory sciences. IATL can provide fully certified analyses for asbestos, environmental lead, and other traditional analytes of concern to the industrial hygiene professional.

IATL is proud of our continued relationship with the American Industrial Hygiene Association(AIHA). Through that esteemed body, we maintain accreditation as an industrial hygiene laboratory. Like all analytical applications, the field sampling protocol is just as important as the laboratory methods employed. Our customer service representatives are available to offer further information and valuable references on field protocols and data interpretation.

Total Nuisance Dust (NIOSH 0500)

This method is often employed in industrial settings where background aerosols may cause pulmonary health problems. The method is non-specific and determines only the total dust concentration to which a worker, or the environment, is exposed. The method requires specialized pre-weighed PVC filters. (see FAQ) The method is gravimetric and requires holding times to achieve weight equilibrium in special desiccators. Our sensitive analytical balances are then used to measure total dust concentrations relevant to the air volumes sampled (mg/m3). OSHA and others have established threshold values ranging from 5mg/m3 to 15mg/m3.

Total Respirable Dust (NIOSH 0600)

This method measures the mass concentration of any non-volatile respirable dust. Similar toNIOSH 0500, the respirable fraction of nuisance dust is a gravimetric procedure requiring special pre-weighted PVC filters. (see FAQ) OSHA and others have developed threshold values ranging from 2 to 5 mg/m3.

Total Suspended Particulate (TSP)

Particulate Materials (PM-10, PM-2.5)

Particulate matter (PM) is the general term used for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Some particles are large or dark enough to be seen as soot or smoke.

Others are so small they can be detected only with an electron microscope (TEM). These particles, which come in a wide range of sizes (“fine” particles are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter and coarser-size particles are larger than 2.5 micrometers), originate from many different stationary, mobile, and natural sources.

Respirable PM includes both fine and coarse particles. These particles can accumulate in the respiratory system and are associated with numerous health effects such as asthma, decreased lung function, and even premature death. Sensitive groups that appear to be at greatest risk to such effects include the elderly, individuals with cardiopulmonary disease, such as asthma, and children.

In 1971, the Clean Air Act, modeled this science around Total Suspended Particulate (TSP). This was further defined in 1987 as PM-10 (10 micron) methods. In 1997, EPA further refined the definition of particulate to a 2.5 micron level. In 1997 MCLs were established at 15 micrograms per cubic meter and 65 µg/m3, respectively, for the annual and 24-hour standards. The analysis is gravimetric, requires specialized pre-weighted quartz filters, and dictates analytical balance sensitivity. IATL has also been called upon to provide qualitative analysis of the inorganic portion of these specialized tests using analytical TEM and AAS. IATL employs methods outlined in 40CFR 50, Appendix B (TSP), Appendix J (PM10), Appendix G (Lead PM10). (see FAQ)

Time Weighted Averages (TWAs)

Evaluations of worker exposures may frequently be limited by conditions outside of the control of the health and safety professional. In some cases, sample collection times may be impacted by the workplace environments, worker shifts, and sampling equipment failure. In order to establish a full comparison to OSHA standards in 29 CFR 1910, many times abbreviated sampling collection times may have to be mathematically adjusted for a full worker shift (ex: 8 hours). IATL can provide Time Weighted Averages (TWAs) for industrial hygiene professionals using ASTM E 1370. (see FAQ)

Non-Asbestos Respirable Fibers (NARF)

Man-Made Mineral Fibers (MMMF)

Refractory Ceramic Fibers (RCF)

PLM and TEM are frequently employed to both qualify and quantify asbestos. There are other fibers that pose health risks. Industrial Hygiene applications frequently call for the evaluation of several related fiber species:

  1. Non-Asbestos Respirable Fibers (NARF)
  2. Man-Made Mineral Fibers (MMMF)
  3. Refractory Ceramic Fibers (RCF)

These are all related by various nomenclatures. Generally, these are defined by their size (certain length and width ratios), chemical composition, and physical properties. Man-Made Mineral Fibers are controlled by the EPA under the Clean Air Act. Many times fibrous materials that fall under these categories are by-products of a manufacturing process, or have been altered from their original state.

IATL employs several established methodologies for these evaluations including:

  • Modified EPA600 and ELAP 198.1 methods using PLM and TEM.
  • ASTME1370-90, E1156-88, and E1132-89 for the identification of polycrystalline minerals and synthetic fibers, and amorphous silica.
  • DuPont Safety and Health Guidelines (MP60A 1992) for the Management and Control of Non-Asbestos Respirable Fibers.
  • Environmental Information Association (EIA) Guidelines for the analysis of Refractory Ceramic Fibers by PLM and TEM.
  • Modified ELAP 198.4 methods employing TEM and gravimetric reduction techniques as specified by EPA: 40 CFR 59 8/1/94.

IATL can provide photomicrographs and chemical spectrum to further document these analyses.

Materials Characterization (MC)

Whether for industrial hygiene purposes, product evaluations, general environmental investigations, or forensic studies, IATL can provide limited materials characterization analyses. Generally, this entails the utilization of all of our analytical tools.

These analyses usually employ full light microscopy, analytical electron microscopy, and atomic absorption spectrophotometry. IATL is limited in providing only inorganic analysis. We can tailor a proprietary analysis to assist in a client’s request. Client deliverables are often lengthy narratives with photo and spectral documentation. (see FAQ)