In the past, many people were not aware of how harmful certain chemicals were to human health, especially cleaning chemicals like trichloroethylene, toluene, and methylene chloride. Industrial workers were consistently exposed, leading to degradation of their physical health, and sometimes even permanent neurological damage. Fortunately, in recent decades, scientists have conducted studies providing the damage that certain hazardous chemicals may cause, resulting in the formation of guidelines known as chemical exposure limits.
In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at what exposure limits mean for chemicals in order to better understand what TCE exposure limits are.
What Are Chemical Exposure Limits?
These exposure limits are either mandatory or recommended limits for airborne exposure to chemical vapors or gases. In the U.S, these limits are typically based on 8-hour time weighted averages.
More hazardous chemicals are going to have lower exposure limits, to prevent undesired health effects, while safer chemicals will have much higher exposure limits since they are less likely to cause any physical health effects.
Trichloroethylene, also known as TCE, is a widely used solvent in many industries. TCE is primarily used as a…
- Cleaning and degreasing agent, specifically for metal equipment cleaning processes
- Hydrofluorocarbon in refrigerant manufacturing
Limits for TCE exposure, as stated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), are as follows:
- 100 ppm for an 8-hour shift
- 300 ppm for a five-minute peak in a 2-hour shift
Due to TCE being a probable carcinogen and highly toxic, this chemical has a low exposure limit.
Are Limits for Chemical Exposure Effective?
Unfortunately, OSHA has stated that they are aware that certain limits for exposure are outdated and have not always effectively protected worker health, since many of these limits have not been updated since 1970.
Even though limits for chemical exposure are not always reliable assessments, companies can ensure worker safety by replacing hazardous chemicals like TCE with worker-friendly chemicals. Not only is using safer chemicals ensuring worker health, but there is a greater chance that the chemicals will be safer for the environment as well.
Interested in Safe and Sustainable Chemicals with High Exposure Limits?
LssChemicals provides industrial-strength chemicals that are worker-friendly and eco-friendly. We have chemicals suited for a variety of purposes that deliver the same, if not better results than traditional toxic chemicals.