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Case Presentation

 

 By: Rutgers University
Why Clean Green
Case Studies
Poison Guide

Exposure Model 2: box model assuming that mist spreads evenly in air within the apartment


An alternative exposure estimate is based on a "box model" and uses assumptions about the volume of mist generated within the room. Using the 8-40 gallons of cleaning solution used, along with the 95% reported removal rate, I tested several assumptions regarding the fate of the 5% moisture left within the home. Because no actual measures of the mist fraction left within the home are available, the model was run using several assumed mist fractions (10, 25, and 50%) to establish a range of exposure possibilities. This information was applied in the following manner to estimate TSP exposure levels:

mg TSP/m3 air = (gallons of mist released/room volume ft3) (8.31 lb mist/gal mist) (454 g mist/lb mist) (1.26 mg TSP/g mist) (35.31 ft3 air/m3 air) [3]

Table 2 shows the range of estimated exposures to TSP based on the assumptions that 8-40 gal cleaner solution was used and that the approximate size of the living room plus other open areas of the apartment was 3,912 ft3 (approximately 111 m3).

This approach yields estimates of 3.4-43 mg/m3 of TSP exposure, using the most conservative assumption that the mist spreads evenly throughout all open areas of the apartment. This exposure represents 0.7-8.6 times the recommended AIHA's 15-min maximum exposure recommendation of 5 mg/m3 for workers.

Estimated volatile organic compound exposure from the deodorizing product


I also conducted mathematical modeling of the exposures to organic chemicals contained within the deodorizing product. According to the standard operating procedures, the technicians should apply approximately 1 gal for every 200 ft2 of upholstery surface area, enough to penetrate carpets and padding in stained areas and produce a drying time of 2-24 hr. From the material safety data sheets and stated dilutions, every gallon of the deodorizer is estimated to contain approximately 2.1% glycol ether and fragrance organic compounds. From this, it can be estimated that every gallon of diluted deodorizer results in 10,139 mg volatile organic compounds being sprayed around the apartment as a mist. Assuming that 1.5 gal was used to cover the approximate 300 ft2 of surface area treated within the home where the incident occurred, approximately 15,209 mg organic chemicals known to cause respiratory irritation was sprayed in the victim's apartment. If only 10-25% of this deodorizer was airborne due to the mist created during application, evaporation, and drying by the time the homeowner exited the bedroom, she would have been exposed to a mixture of organic chemicals ranging from 14 to 61 mg/m3--far in excess of the 5-25 mg/m3 shown by Molhave and colleagues (7,12) to cause respiratory irritation and asthma reactions among asthmatics and nonasthmatics.

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