NIOSH Tech Talks: Current Topics

Tuesday, May 24 | 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM



1. Oil and Gas Extraction Chemical Exposures
Moderator: E. Esswein, NIOSH, Denver, CO.

The NIOSH Field Effort to Assess Chemical Exposures in Oil and Gas Extraction Workers has identified exposure risks for respirable crystalline silica in hydraulic fracturing, benzene exposures during tank gauging operations and exposure to diesel particulate matter during completions operations. NIOSH field research led to the invention, fabrication and field evaluation of the NIOSH Mini Baghouse Retrofit Assembly that has been shown to be 99% effective in controlling silica dust emissions from sand moving equipment, a technology available for commercial licensing in 2016. The NIOSH Field Effort is expected to continue into the foreseeable future but stakeholder input is needed to identify knowledge gaps for exposure assessment research. This Table Talk will engage participants in discussions of knowledge gaps in exposure assessment research in oil and gas extraction that should be considered for inclusion in the Field Effort over the next 5 years.

2. Nanotechnology
Moderator: L. Hodson, NIOSH, Cincinnati, OH.

NIOSH has conducted numerous field investigations at nanomaterial facilities to evaluate exposures and control techniques. NIOSH researchers will discuss and answer questions regarding the evolution and refinement of the Nanomaterial Emission Assessment Technique (NEAT 1.0) into the Nanomaterial Exposure Assessment Technique (NEAT 2.0). Discussion is not limited to exposure assessment and may expand into other nanomaterial research areas based on participant interest.

3. Monitoring and Control of Respirable Crystalline Silica Exposure
Moderators: T. Lee, NIOSH , Morgantown, WV; E. Cauda, NIOSH, Pittsburgh, PA.

NIOSH is active in the monitoring and control of respirable crystalline silica exposure in different industry sectors. Innovative sampling and monitoring approaches are being explored and are in development. Various specific control technologies and interventions have been proposed and evaluated. Recently added to NIOSH areas of consideration are human factor components related to the exposure to this hazard, and also communication within the industry regarding exposure data. This discussion will focus on updating stakeholders on recent and current NIOSH efforts and getting inputs from stakeholders in terms of needs.
4. Cleaning and Disinfecting in Healthcare: A Balancing Act
Moderators: M. Abbas Virji, B. Hawley, R. Lebouf, and M.Humann NIOSH, Morgantown, WV.

In healthcare, cleaning and disinfecting are critical for minimizing healthcare-associated infections, yet these activities are associated with adverse respiratory outcomes among healthcare workers. Healthcare occupations have an elevated risk for asthma and related symptoms associated with the use of cleaning and disinfecting products (e.g., ammonia, chlorine) or tasks (e.g. cleaning instruments or surfaces). Cleaning and disinfecting products constitute a complex mixtures of chemicals which often contain respiratory sensitizers and/or irritants, but the specific substances and the levels that are associated with asthma outcomes is not well-characterized. This discussion will focus on current NIOSH research on identifying opportunities to mitigate exposure to cleaning and disinfecting chemicals without affecting the objective of disinfecting and sterilizing surfaces and instruments.

5. Shift Work, Long Work Hours, and Related Sleep and Fatigue Issues
Moderator: C. Caruso, NIOSH, Cincinnati, OH.

Workplace fatigue from insufficient sleep can be due to factors at work such as shift work and long work hours and factors in the worker’s personal life. Evidence is growing that getting adequate sleep is a basic need for life and health, being as important as good nutrition and exercise. Immediate risks of sleep deprivation include decrements in neuro-cognitive and physiological functioning. This may, in turn, cause workers to make decisions that put themselves as well as others around them at increased risk for non-fatal and fatal injuries. Immediate risks also include poor health behaviors such as smoking, inadequate exercise, and unhealthy eating patterns which lead to obesity. Long term exposure to frequent episodes of sleep deprivation and disruption to circadian rhythms increases risk for developing a wide range of chronic illnesses including cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal disorders, diabetes mellitus, mental disturbances, cancer, and adverse reproductive outcomes. Participants in this Table Talk will share current workplace strategies to address this workplace hazard

6. Strategies for Managing Health Risks from Workplace Electric and Magnetic Fields
Moderator: J. D. Bowman, NIOSH, Cincinnati, OH.

Electric and magnetic fields (EMF) at extremely low frequencies can interfere with both brain functions and electronic implants at high levels and IARC has designated them as a possible carcinogen at moderate levels. NIOSH has been developing strategies to manage exposures for these outcomes. The proposed strategies for managing electromagnetic interference with personal electronic medical devices are presented in depth at a platform presentation. To protect against acute neurological effects from EMF sources such as spot resistance welding, NIOSH is considering the adoption of IEEE’s Maximum Permissible Exposures as a Recommended Exposure Limit. NIOSH has developed and tested a range of cost-effective methods for reducing time-weighted average magnetic fields that have been associated with increased cancer risks. Discussion will focus on these draft strategies and potential improvements.

7. NIOSH Center for Direct Reading and Sensor Technologies
Moderators: D.G. DeBord, NIOSH, Cincinnati, OH; M.D. Hoover, NIOSH, Morgantown, WV.

Direct reading methods and sensors are important drivers to advance our ability to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, control, and confirm protection of workers from occupational hazards. The NIOSH Center for Direct Reading and Sensor Technologies (NCDRST) was established in 2014 to coordinate a national research agenda for direct reading methods and sensor technologies; develop guidance documents pertinent to direct reading methods and sensors, including validation and performance characteristics; develop training protocols; and establish partnerships to collaborate in the Center’s activities.