Workplace Environment Monitoring to Measure Exposure to Chlorinated Organic Compounds

Chlorinated organic compounds generated at printing plants and metal processing factories are investigated.

Response to Bile Duct Cancer Contracted by Workers at Printing Plants

  • Following the discovery of the case where bile duct cancer was contracted by workers at printing plants, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) released a summary of nation-wide inspection on July 10, 2012. Among the 561 business sites inspected across Japan, 494 were found to be using substances regulated under the Ordinance on Prevention of Organic Solvent Poisoning, and one or more problems were discovered at 383 sites (77.5%).
  • While conducting an epidemiological study on the occurrence of bile duct cancer, MHLW has named dichloromethane and 1,2-dichloropropane as hazardous substances. According to the summary of the nation-wide inspection, dichloromethane is used at 152 sites, and 1,2-dichloropropane at 10 sites.
  • These chlorinated organic compounds are used not only printing plants but also in plating, metal processing, and semiconductor cleaning processes. Caution should be exercised when such work is conducted in poorly ventilated spaces.

Current Regulations on Dichloromethane and 1,2-Dichloropropane

  • With state-of-the-art analysis equipment and a wealth of experience, JFE-TEC offers quantitative analysis of target hazardous substances.
  • Our analysis service supports wide-ranging specimens, including resin and other materials, as well as water specimens collected from the natural environment (e.g., sea water, river water) and from water supply and sewage facilities.
  • Please contact us for more details of substances we can analyze.
Substance Scope Applicable Regulation Standards, etc.
Dichloromethane Areas inhabited by ordinary citizens Environmental standards for benzene under the provision of Article 16, Paragraph 1 of the Basic Environment Law 0.15 mg/m3 per year on average
Organic solvents work 1) Ordinance on Prevention of Organic Solvent Poisoning Concentration limit 50 ppm
Organic solvents work and non-organic solvent work 2) Guidelines for prevention of health impairment caused by chemical substances, defined by the MHLW under the provision of Article 28, Paragraph 3 of the Industrial Safety and Health Act 3) Permissible concentration 50 ppm 4)
1,2-Dichloropropane Designated work Guidelines for prevention of health impairment caused by chemical substances, defined by the MHLW under the provision of Article 28, Paragraph 3 of the Industrial Safety and Health Act3) Permissible concentration 10ppm 4)

notes

1)
Handling of any substance containing an organic solvent that contains dichloromethane accounting for more than 5% of its weight.
2)
Handling of any substance containing an organic solvent that contains dichloromethane accounting for more than 1% of its weight.
3)
Substances which have been found to cause cancer to mammals in a long-term toxicity test conducted by the government. Although their carcinogenicity to human has yet to be established, the guidelines for prevention of health impairment caused by chemical substances regulate them (when workers handle any substance containing an organic solvent that contains the regulated substance accounting for more than 1% of its weight) because it is undeniable that they can cause cancer to workers after long-term exposure.
4)
The permissible concentration announced by the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists as a recommended value (a concentration that is determined to have no adverse health effect on almost all workers).

Businesses that engage workers in activities that do not meet the environmental standards and are regulated by the Ordinance on Prevention of Organic Solvent Poisoning and the ministerial guidelines for health impairment prevention must take measures as required by relevant regulations.

(1) Measures to reduce exposure to the regulated substance

  • Work environment management (e.g., improving work processes and facilities to prevent workers from being exposed to the substance)
  • Management of local exhaust system, etc.
  • Use of protective equipment, etc.

(2) Work environment measurement

  • Conduct periodic measurement of the airborne concentration of the regulated substance in an indoor workplace
  • Take measures to improve the work environment as needed, based on measurement results

Work Environment Measurement Services

1. Chemical Substance Concentration Investigation

In your work environment, we survey the concentration of chemical substances, such as dichloromethane and 1,2-dichloropropane. The first step to chemical substance management is identifying the current situation.

Screening (Identification of High Concentration Areas)

  • We perform a simplified measurement using detecting tubes or other instruments, promptly report chemical substance concentrations at low cost, and conduct a screening to identify high concentration areas in your work environment.

Closer Concentration Measurement

  • We perform closer analysis using minimum limits of determination that are lower than those used in simplified measurement, by means of work environment measurement or official analytical methods defined in the government's manual for hazardous air pollutant measurement.

Qualitative analysis

  • Qualitative analysis is performed to determine which chemical substances are generated. This involves collection of specimens in collection bags or other containers and analyzing the specimens by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Some chlorinated organic compounds are undetectable.
Analysis of chlorinated organic compounds by GC-MS Analysis of chlorinated organic compounds by GC-MS
 

2. Ventilation Effectiveness Verification Test

Chemical substance concentrations in the work environment are significantly affected by the operating status of the local exhaust system and ventilation equipment used in the room. This test verifies the effectiveness of such equipment to determine whether appropriate ventilation is achieved.

Visual Airflow Measurement

  • This involves not only air velocity measurement at different parts of the room but also the generation of smoke in the room to visualize and capture images of airflow, thereby verifying ventilation effectiveness.
Smoke machine

Smoke machine

Particulate measurement

  • Ventilation effectiveness is evaluated by generating particulates in the room and observing particle concentrations.
Particle generator/Particle counter
 


Our staff includes many certified working environment measurement experts.
In addition to reporting measurement and analysis results, they propose plans to improve your work environment.

Terms of Agreement

Inquiry about Products and Services

Click here for inquiries regarding services:

  • Inquiry Form
  • Ordering Procedure