Printech Archives, July 1996: Re: Recycled-paper DUST

Re: Recycled-paper DUST

Matt Kaarlela (
Tue, 9 Jul 1996 15:04:55 -0500

>I am looking for the answer to a question that was asked during the
>Green & Profitable Videoconference (held May 17, 1996.)
>The question was:
> "We've found recycled-paper DUST to crease skin
> allergies (hives, itching, etc.) -- Do you have any recommended
> solutions?"
>Any confirmation of this problem or discussion of this topic would be
>appreciated, as well as any recommended solutions. Thanks.
>Daniel A. Boehm, P.E.

Dan, I doubt the allergic reaction is being caused by the recycled paper
dust but rather by some byproduct of the recycling process since OSHA has a
very liberal exposure limit for nuisance dust. I suggest you check with the
paper vendor and inquire as to the chemicals used in the recycling process.
I suspect you will find one of the chemicals is the culprit. In any event,
it will be an allergic reaction and not an exposure problem so only
"reasonable steps" should be required to accommodate the impacted employees.
One step may be to try other recycled paper. Another option would be to
provide protective gear to the impacted employees.

In a chemical allergy case I dealt with, simple disposable gloves solved the
problem. In another instance with dust from the ventilation system, there
was no solution so the employee left the company. One last warning, if you
consider providing dust masks, remember they may require a respiratory
protection plan and proper fit testing for OSHA compliance. Hope this helps a



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