Clothes Cleaning Process
Description:This pamphlet and the enclosed video describe a safe, effective and economical method for removing dust from work clothes. Background Information Dusty work clothes can increase a worker’s exposure to respirable dust. Respirable dust is usually considered to be particles having an aerodynamic diameter of 10 microns or less and able to enter and deposit in the gas-exchange region of the human lung. A former U.S. Bureau of Mines report documented a 10-fold increase in worker dust exposure on a number of separate occasions from dusty work clothes.* It was found that once clothes become contaminated, they are a continual dust source until cleaned. The only MSHA approved method to clean work clothes requires a HEPA-filter vacuuming system which is very time consuming and difficult to perform effectively. Therefore, most workers use a single air hose (not MSHA approved) which can elevate dust levels for the worker, co-workers, and the work environment. A substantial amount of engineering technology has been developed that, when applied, can significantly lower respirable dust exposures of workers at mineral processing plants. But even with these improvements, some workers continue to exceed their permissible exposure limit. Elevated exposures increase the potential for developing debilitating or fatal lung diseases. ?e clothes cleaning method described within is an example of a continuing effort to reduce the potential for developing these lung diseases. Information about engineering research by the former U.S. Bureau of Mines and NIOSH can be found online at www.cdc.gov/niosh. ?is website can also be used for obtaining NIOSH information about health hazards associated with crystalline silica.
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