Printreg Archive
Re: Paper Dust Regulations and Fire Safety

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From: Matt Kaarlela (
Date: Fri Aug 13 1999 - 10:24:23 CDT

I think you are right on the money regarding the dust issue. When I was a
project manager
at an EPA superfund site in New Mexico, we had a HUGE problem with dust in
summer. I had an IH monitoring dust levels daily and you would not believe
how dusty it could be and still not exceed the nuisance dust standard. We
using real-time hand held monitors for total dust and high volume air
samplers with
cyclones for respirable fraction over an 8-hour time weighted average.

Bottom line is I think it would be very unlikely that a printing operation
with normal
ventillation would ever exceed the standard. You might be concerned with a
grinding operation in a confined space or some other unusual application
but that
would be the exception and not the rule.

>With regard to OSHA's standards on Nuisance Dust, the 5 mg/m3 is for the
>respirable fraction which is all particles less than 10 microns. For the
>fraction the standard is 15 mg/m3. I think paper dust would have a small
>portion of respirable fraction. We print on plastic, so I have not conducted
>any studies on this myself. When sampling it is wise to sample for total
>first and if you exceed 5 mg/m3 then do the respirable sampling. Sampling
>respirable dust requires a cyclone and takes a little more effort.
>Be aware that OSHA's standard for air contaminants is based on scientific
>from the early 70's. The American Conference of Industrial Hygienists
>publishes recommended guidelines for safe exposures based on the most current
>scientific data. Their 1999 safe exposure limit for Particulate not
>Classified is 10 mg/m3 for the total dust and 3 mg/m3 for the respirable
>fraction. The standard for cellulose is 10 mg/m3 for the total fraction.
>Companies should strongly consider using the ACGIH guidelines to most
>effectively protect their employees and manage their risks.
>Betsy Lovensheimer
>Health, Safety and Environmental Manager
>De La Rue Card Systems Inc.

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