January 2000


Smoke Detectors

About 90 percent of U.S. homes are equipped with smoke detectors, but in 20 percent of these households - nearly 16 million - the detectors do not work, often because the battery is dead or missing.  So says the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), which encourages consumers to test their detectors regularly.  According to CPSC, fire is the second-leading cause of unintentional death in the home, with more than 3,700 people dying each year in residential fires.  "Smoke detectors can save lives, but they won't work   if they are not maintained," says CPSC Chair Ann Brown.  "They should be tested regularly, and the batteries should be replaced at least once a year or when they make a 'chirping' sound."  For more tips on fire safety, visit www.cpsc.gov.

from December 1999 Professional Safety Magazine


"Safety is a gift for the whole family"


Infectious Waste

In 1991 OSHA passed the Bloodborne Pathogen standard (29 CFR 1910.1030). The standard requires special containment for all potentially infectious wastes.

Containers used for storing contaminated sharps as specified by the standard, must be color coded (red), labeled, be puncture resistant/leak proof, and closable.

Biohazard bags must only be used for infectious waste. The bag must be red in color and marked as infectious waste. They are not to be used for chemical waste, radioactive waste or regular trash. The bads must go through testing as outlined by the "American Society of Testing" for durability and puncture resistance. Care must be taken that the weight of the waste load not exceed the burst strength of the bag.

For large amounts of infectious waste the preferred method of disposal is through incineration, generally by a third party contractor. Autoclaving is generally the method of choice for decontamination of small items known to be contaminated with infectious agents. A Biohazard bag will generally change color or have a special marking which is heat activated indicating the waste has been autoclaved. Autoclaved waste can be disposed of as general waste.
Created: 1/7/98 Updated: 1/7/98

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Are you experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)?  How much artificial sweetener are you using?  Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are not always caused by repetitive motion.  Heavy users of sweetener aspartame, have developed symptoms of CTS.  Three individuals (2 female and 1 male) developed symptoms of CTS.  All three individuals did keyboarding approximately 30 hours a week and utilized various wrist braces, wrist rests, and exercises to help relieve symptoms.  Each of the individuals used between 6 and 15   1 gram packets of aspartame a day as well as a diet drink containing aspartame.   After eliminating aspartame from their diets, symptoms subsided within two weeks.   No changes were made in work habits.

"Chemical Health & Safety; vol. 6, num 6; 1999"


"Kitchen safety caters to success."

Hazardous Substances

"It is the dose only that makes a thing not a poison" - Paracelsus (1493-1541).  It is generally understood that all chemicals, at some concentration are toxic.  One of the greatest dangers of overexposure is through inhalation.  Three agencies have established guidelines for exposure of various contaminates :  Occupational Safety & Health Association (OSHA); National Institute of Occupational Safety (NIOSH) and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH).  Of these three agencies, OSHA's Permissible Exposure Limits (PEL's) are, in fact, legal limits.

Anyone working with hazardous substances should familiarize themselves with the terminology used by these agencies to assess risk.  The following is a list of acronyms commonly used in the toxicology section of the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS):

    PEL (Permissible Exposure Limit) - OSHA: The maximum allowable limit for an air contaminant for which a worker may be exposed on a daily basis without suffering adverse effects.

    TWA (Time Weighted Average) - OSHA: Term used in the specification of Occupational Exposure Limits to define the average concentration of a chemical to which it is permissible to expose a worker over a period of time, typically 8 hours.

    C (Ceiling) - OSHA: The concentration of a substance that should not be exceeded.

    AL (Action Level) - OSHA: Is the exposure level at which OSHA regulation take effect.  Generally, this is one-half of the PEL.

    TLV (Threshold Limit Value) - ACGIH: Is the maximum permissible concentration of a material, generally expressed   in parts per million (ppm) in air for a defined period of time (generally 8 hours).

    TLV-C (Threshold Limit Value-Ceiling) - ACGIH: Ceiling exposure - should not be exceeded under any circumstances.

    TLV-STEL (Threshold Limit Value - Short Term Exposure Limit) The short term exposure or maximum concentration of a substances which a worker may be exposed to for a continuous 15 minute period, with a low probability of adverse effects.

                                                                            Lenore Koliha