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Is My Chemistry Building Safe? AIHCE 2000 - Orlando, FL. Michael B. Amster P.E., CIH, CSP, CHMM M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA Michael Sauda CSP University of Maine System, Bangor, ME. Background.

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is my chemistry building safe aihce 2000 orlando fl

Is My Chemistry Building Safe?AIHCE 2000 - Orlando, FL

Michael B. Amster P.E., CIH, CSP, CHMM

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

Michael Sauda CSP

University of Maine System, Bangor, ME

background
Background
  • The Chemistry Department is located in an old academic/research Chemistry Building on a campus in the University of Maine System.
  • Ventilation system sequentially upgraded
    • Generally not consistent with currently accepted design criteria

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

issue of concern
Issue of Concern
  • To address the Faculty, Staff and Student Committee concerns about the death of two long-time members of the Chemistry Department from identical brain cancers within a period of approximately two years.

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

study objective
Study Objective
  • To determine if any chemical(s) are present in the Chemistry Building, previously unnoticed or unidentified, that may be putting the occupants at unnecessary risk.
    • Conduct air and surface sampling
    • Provide comment on observations of building activities

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

chemicals classes of concern
Chemicals/Classes of Concern

Committee research:

  • Volatile Organics, especially chlorinated hydrocarbons: Airborne
  • Semi-Volatile Organics, especially pesticides: Airborne and Surface
  • Metals: Surface
  • Mercury: Airborne

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

sampling locations
Sampling Locations
  • Committee chose sampling locations to include:
    • Teaching/Research/Support/ Preparation/Instrument/Labs
    • Classrooms, Auditorium, Faculty Offices, Stock Room

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

sampling locations1
Sampling Locations
  • $1,200/point (VOC/Semi-VOC/Metal)
  • Screening, w/follow-up as necessary

Additional Issue:

  • Physical Chemistry labs for metallic mercury

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

sampling methods
Sampling Methods
  • Airborne:
    • Quartz lined canisters: VOCs: EPA T0-14, (GC/MS) (M-39+15TICs)
    • Polyurethane Foam Filter: Semi-VOC: EPA 8270, (GC/MS) (M-98+ 15TICs)
  • Surface: Wipes
    • Semi-VOC: EPA 8270, (GC/MS)
    • Metals: NIOSH 7300, (ICP) (M-20)
  • Direct Reading: Jerome Meter
    • Mercury

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

survey schedule
Survey Schedule
  • January: During Break
    • Building background
    • Airborne and surface
  • February: Mid-Semester
    • Added student/research lab. activity
    • Airborne only

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

applicable standards
Applicable Standards
  • Airborne
    • PELs
    • TLVs
  • Surface/Wipe Samples
    • No compliance standards

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

applicable standards1
ApplicableStandards
  • ASHRAE 62-1989 - Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality
    • 1/10 TLV
    • Guideline for non-industrial exposure
    • Usual level of detection for IH sampling

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

vocs jan
Classroom

Method

1,4 Dichlorobenzene

(2 ppb)

TICs

Butane (1 ppb)

Acetone (3 ppb)

IPA (4 ppb)

Faculty Office

Method

N/D

TICs

2,2,4 Trimethylpentane (1 ppb)

Isobutane (2 ppb)

Butane (2 ppb)

Acetone (2 ppb)

VOCs (Jan.)

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

vocs feb
Support Laboratory

Method

m,p-Xylene (4 ppb)

TICs

Propene (4 ppb)

Faculty Office

Method

1,1,1Trichloroethane (1 ppb)

m,p-Xylene (.5 ppb)

TICs

Propene (10 ppb)

VOCs (Feb.)

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

vocs feb1
Background Office

Method

Freon 11 (.1 ppb)

1,4 Dichlorobenzene (2 ppb)

TICs

Isopropanol (70 ppb)

VOCs (Feb.)

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

semi vocs airborne jan
Semi-VOCsAirborne (Jan.)
  • N/D, Method or TICs, per protocol
  • Detection Limit: Low ppb/High ppt

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

semi vocs airborne feb
Stock Room

Method

2-Ethylhexyl Adipate (3 ppb)

TICs

N/D

Semi-VOCsAirborne (Feb.)

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

semi vocs surface
Semi-VOCsSurface
  • N/D, Method or TICs, per protocol
  • Detection Limit: Low microgram per square foot

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

metal surface
Metal - Surface

Lab, Class Room, and Office Walls

ug/ft2 DL (ug)

Aluminum (4/5) 14-31 <10

Barium (1/5) 3.4 <1.0

Calcium (5/5) 11-140 <.25

Copper (1/5) 3.0 <1.0

Iron (5/5) 9.7-57 <2.0

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

metal surface1
Metal - Surface

Lab, Class Room, and Office Walls

ug/ft2 DL (ug)

Magnesium (5/5) 3.7-17 <2.0

Manganese (1/5) 1.0 <1.0

Sodium (2/5) 11-17 <10

Lead (1/5) 12 <3.0

Zinc (4/5) 1.2-22 <1.0

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

mercury airborne
Mercury - Airborne
  • Various Research/Teaching Labs, Classrooms, Faculty Offices
    • .000-.004ppm
  • Physical Chemistry Lecture Hall
    • Vacuum rack platform: .000-.006ppm
    • Visible mercury present

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

mercury airborne1
Mercury - Airborne
  • Target Faculty Office/Research Lab.
    • After an already major clean-up
    • General: .006-.031ppm
    • Over floor drain: up to .042ppm
    • PEL 0.1ppm(C) and TLV .025ppm

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

additional observations
Additional Observations
  • Working Alone: opaque glass, locked doors, accessible communications, need for graded “work permits”
  • Chemical Movement: dry ice/gas cylinders carried in occupied elevator
  • General Lab Safety: PPE, proper use of available engineering controls
  • Redefined: “Academic Freedom”

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

conclusions
Conclusions
  • Levels of VOC & Semi-VOC well w/in occupational health limits
    • Nothing insidious, based on analysis
    • Does not preclude the necessity of upgrading the lab facilities, ventilation design and function
  • Metals present on surfaces
    • Housekeeping and personal hygiene

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

conclusions1
Conclusions
  • Significant levels of mercury remain in the Target Office/Lab.
    • Remediate before return to beneficial occupancy
  • Mercury spill precautions in Physical Chemistry Lecture Hall
    • Spill prevention/control program
    • Mercury containing equipment replacement

M.B. Amster & Associates, Concord, MA

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