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Airborne Contaminant Exposure Assessment Guidelines

The prevention of airborne contamination involves well-establishment assessment practices. Airborne pollutants, contaminants and pathogens could affect individuals having professional occupations ranging from medical workers to agriculture experts. Airborne contaminants can increase the risk of respiratory conditions, as well as other health problems related to the inhalation of such pollutants.

The degree of hazard and level of exposure need to be examined before employers pick the right kind of protective gear for their workers. These practices all feature among the staples for the prevention of airborne contamination.

When Should Assessments Be Performed?

The airborne contaminant assessment is crucial for companies that operate in a wide range of industries and that could potentially be exposing workers to hazards.

Some of these industries include the medical field (where the risk of airborne pathogen infections is relatively high) and companies dealing with hazardous substances like methylene chloride or lead.

Assessment will also be needed in the case of adverse symptoms experienced by the workers. Some of the most common symptoms of airborne contamination include throat irritation, reoccurring respiratory infections, breathing difficulty, coughing and other respiratory problems. Unusual odors at the workplace will also need to be examined.

The final case in which assessment will be needed involves visible emissions. If workers notice fumes, dust and vapor at the workplace, airborne contamination assessment will become mandatory.

Types of Common Airborne Contaminants

In order for the prevention of airborne contamination to be effective, the type of pollutant will need to be identified 100 percent correctly.

Dust, fumes, mist and gases are the most common types of contaminants in various industries. The airborne contaminant could also be biological. This scenario is common in labs, research and medical facilities. The contamination could come in the form of mold, bacteria, fungi and viruses.

The contaminant could also have chemical nature. If there are recommended occupational exposure guidelines, these will be taken in consideration during the assessment process.

The Components of Contamination Assessment

Professionals that deal with airborne contamination assessment rely on four guiding principles for the completion of the procedure. These principles include:

  • Hazard identification
  • Dose-response assessment
  • Exposure assessment
  • Risk characterization

The first part of the process identifies the pollutant and establishes the link between its presence in the air and the adverse health effects experienced by workers. The dose-response assessment is needed to define the level of toxicity. The exposure assessment is needed to figure out which group has been affected by the airborne contamination and how long these individuals have been in contact with the pollutant. The risk characterization is the conclusive part of the process that is needed to determine the overall risks of exposure.

Once all of these steps have been completed, control approaches and strategies can be developed. The prevention of airborne contamination will clearly depend on correct pathogen or pollutant identification and full awareness of the problem’s scope. Prevention is a much more effective approach than trying to deal with an already hazardous situation. This is why regular screening is essential for a number of industries that have a relatively high risk of experiencing airborne contamination.

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