plating, anodizing, & finishing Q&As since 1989
Aluminum dust, I work in fast pace manufacturing facility, I do a lot of sanding on aluminum using jitter bug air sanders. I work in a shop room 20ft by 20ft with 10 workers inside and a ventilation system size of a shopvac, using cloth type respirator N95 made by 3M. My co. says that its not harmful to breath aluminum dust with cloth masks, a ventilation and 10 employees sanding and polishing. Can you tell me are they right on saying this about safety and is it bad to work and this aluminum dust for years?
Thank you,Gilbert Molina
- Piru, California, USA
You need to get your employer to do Industrial Hygiene Testing for Al. and respirable dust. The Threshold Limit value for Al is 10 mg/m3 and the Permissible exposure level is 15 mg/m3. This means that if the amounts found from testing are at or above these levels, your company needs to put a Respiratory Protection Program in place, with training and proper fit testing for respirators.
It sounds as if you are at or above the PEL, 15 is not a lot. If your employer does not agree and does nothing about it., you have a few choices. One is to find a safer job and the other is to call your local OSHA office, who would love to look at this.Bob Forrest
- Portland, Maine, USA
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