Environmental and International EH&S Issues

Environmental and International EH&S Issues

Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 10:00 AM - 12:20 PM

SR-126-01 Environmental Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on a Lake in West Virginia: A Case of Radionuclide Partitioning and Disequilibrium

A. Nelson, M. Schultz, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

Objective: Hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling (i.e., unconventional drilling) for shale g​​as has emerged as an important technology for supplying energy to the United States and the rest of the world. However, there are many unknown and uncharacterized potential environmental pollution risks. Naturally-occurring radioactive materials (NORM) are some of the least characterized environmental pollutants generated by unconventional drilling. Emerging reports have indicated that NORM is not fully removed from liquid wastes during wastewater treatment processes and can enter riparian environments. Though, these reports have focused on a single radionuclide, radium-226, and have not addressed radium-226 decay products. The goal of this study was to investigate levels and equilibrium status of radium-226 and its decay products (lead-210 and polonium-210) in water and sediment in an aqueous environment impacted by hydraulic fracturing.

Methods: Water and sediment samples were collected upstream, within, and downstream of a freshwater lake in West Virginia, using routine methods as recommended by the U.S. EPA. All metal, inorganic, organic, gamma spectrometry (HPGe), and water quality measurements were performed by University of Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory in accordance with NELAC standards. Alpha-emitting isotopes (natural uranium, polonium-210) were analyzed by isotope-dilution alpha spectrometry using NIST-traceable standards.

Results: Radioactivity concentrations of NORM in stream sediments were generally lower than NORM levels in the lake and well below action levels (180 Bq/kg). Levels of uranium-238 and uranium-234 in the lake were less than 25 Bq/kg. Levels of lead-210 (98-125 Bq/kg) and polonium-210 (110-163 Bq/kg) were significantly elevated over levels of radium-226 (52-65 Bq/kg). Levels of NORM in water samples were in the low mBq/L range.

Conclusions: We found levels of lead-210 and polonium-210 in sediments of a lake receiving treated unconventional drilling liquid wastes were 3-5 fold higher than levels of the supporting radionuclide, radium-226. This work suggests that lead-210 and polonium-210 cannot be assumed in equilibrium with radium-226. Risk, exposure, and environmental impact assessments to NORM liberated by unconventional drilling should consider radium-226 decay products.

SR-126-02 Erionite as an Occupational and Environmental Hazard in the Western U.S.

M. Harper, NIOSH, Morgantown, WV

Objective: The objective of this study is to evaluate the presence and hazard potential of the fibrous zeolite mineral erionite in the western states.

Methods: Samples containing erionite have been collected from several areas. Cliffs in north-west Oregon were sampled at various horizons and examined under an optical microscope in the field. Approximately 10 kg of rock with the greatest concentration of erionite fibers (about 80%) were collected and transferred to RTI International to be made available as a research material. Cliffs in the Custer National Forest of South Dakota and Montana were also sampled. The Arikaree Formation (Palaeogene) contained up to 20% erionite. Finally, “woolly” erionite was collected near Austin, Nevada. These materials have been examined by phase-contrast and polarized light microscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy (with energy-dispersive spectroscopy) and x-ray diffraction. Preliminary toxicological experiments have been carried out to provide data on which to base a more comprehensive study.

Results: Rome, OR erionite is now available in 10 gm vials from RTI International. Erionite is seen to be a highly diverse mineral, with a range of morphologies, and a considerable range of cation chemistry between sources, and also between individual particles from a single source. A cation content methodology for identifying erionite could not be supported and a method based on polarized-light microscopy and x-ray diffraction appears necessary. Finally, preliminary studies point to possible differences in toxicity between materials from different locations.

Conclusions: Exposures to erionite have already been documented in aggregate mineral extraction and road construction and maintenance. However, the hazard posed by erionite may vary from location to location.

SR-126-03 Association of Urinary 8-hydroxy-2’-deoxyguanosine Levels with Aging and Increased Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide in Elder Chinese Women

J. Yuan, School of Public Health, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China

Objective: Indoor air pollutants from environmental tobacco smoke and cooking oil fumes can cause respiratory problems in Chinese women, lead to the releases in proinflammatory cytokines and oxidative DNA damage. However, effects of normal ageing and increased fractional exhaled nitric oxide on urinary 8-OHdG levels in elderly Chinese women are unknown.

Methods: Subjects were derived from the baseline survey of a cohort study. Among 3053 participants, those with missing data on FeNO, urinary 8-OHdG levels, height and weight and certain diseases (such as cancer, stroke, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) were excluded. Finally, a total of 2224 adults (779 males and 1445 females) were included in this study. Information on personal social-demographic characteristics, occupational history, personal medical history, life habit and living conditions, type of cooking fuel used, coal kitchen ventilation ways was obtained by interviewing study subjects using structured questionnaires. Physical examination (such as height, weight, waist and hip circumference) and blood and urinary sample investigations (urinary 8-OHdG levels) for all participants were conducted. Factors affecting urinary 8-OHdG levels were analyzed using multiple linear regression analysis.

Results: The results from multiple linear regression models show that there was a relative increase in urinary 8-OHdG levels in females aged ≥ 64 years without active and passive smoking and with lower FeNO ( 59.7% (95% CI: 5.0-142.9%) or higher FeNO (71.5%, 95% CI: 23.5-138.0%), compared to females aged < 64 years without active and passive smoking and with lower FeNO. After adjusting for potential confounders, we found a relative increase in urinary 8-OHdG levels (△% of urinary 8-OHdG: 74.1% (95% CI: 17.7–157.4%) in females aged ≥ 64 years with higher FeNO and self-catering using LPS only, without active and passive smoking, compared to females aged < 64 years with lower FeNO and self-catering using fuel LPS only, without active and passive smoking.

Conclusions: Cooking-related pollutants may chronically induce inflamed state in Chinese women aged ≥ 64 years without active and passive smoking, and increased the urinary 8-OHdG levels, synchronously, ageing also enhanced the health impact.

CS-126-04 Meeting the Challenge of Measuring Health and Safety Performance Globally: ASTM Standard E2920 - 14 for Recording Occupational Injuries and Illnesses

D. Woodhull, S. Newell, ORCHSE Strategies, LLC, Washington, D.C.

Situation/Problem: As U.S.-based companies have expanded their operations globally, accurate accounting of occupational injuries and illnesses in non-U.S.-based locations has proven difficult. In seeking a means to standardize measurement of their worldwide safety and health performance, many have faced the challenge of imposing the U.S. OSHA recordkeeping requirements throughout their sites. This has created confusion and inaccuracy due largely to the differing definitions of medical treatment in different cultures. Less-serious cases have gone unreported in cultures that place a high value on conforming to the norm. In addition, work relatedness of cases as set forth by OSHA has been difficult to understand and apply consistently across the globe.

Resolution: ASTM Standard E2920 - 14, Standard Guide for Recording Occupational Injuries and Illnesses was drafted “to establish definitions and criteria for recording occupational injuries and illnesses to be used for measuring safety performance, evaluating safety program performance, and improving consistency when comparing international performance.” The criteria for recording cases are based on the outcomes of the cases, that is, the type of injury or illness sustained by the employee, and are limited to those of sufficient severity to cause death, are life threatening, life altering, or so serious that they require immediate intervention for recovery.

Results: Several companies have implemented the standard in their global operations. The criteria have enabled them to make definitive decisions to record cases in which employees have sustained serious injuries or illnesses but have received treatments with the traditional medicine practices of specific Asian countries. Differences in approaches to treatment between U.S. and non-U.S. physicians and health care providers have been made irrelevant because of the focus on case outcomes, which has simplified the decision making process. The standard has made their injury and illness metrics more accurate and consistent.

Lessons Learned: Case outcome as a key criterion for recording occupational injuries and illnesses provides a more consistent, accurate measure of safety and health performance than medical treatment. Focusing on cases that result in death, or that are life threatening, life altering or so serious that they require immediate medical intervention for recovery raises the likelihood of reporting and recording and provides for greater consistency.

CS-126-05 Mentored Skill Building Increases Asbestos Hazard Awareness in Indonesia

K. Gunderson, University of California, Berkeley, San Ramon, CA

Situation/Problem: Chrysotile asbestos is imported into Indonesia and workers who process it are often unaware of its hazards. Indonesian academics and industry, influenced by the Chrysotile Institute, perpetuate the perception that white asbestos is safe. Only one grassroots worker safety advocacy group exists in Indonesia, the Local Initiative for OSH Network (LION), a registered non-governmental organization (NGO). It lacked the funds, tools and skills to perform an exposure assessment that could inform asbestos workers about the hazards in their factories.

Resolution: Funded primarily by a $2,500 AIHA (Northern California Section) Developing World Outreach Initiative (DWOI) grant and mentored by expatriate DWOI member Karen Gunderson, LION conducted an exposure assessment, including air sampling and medical exams, at an Indonesian asbestos roofing material factory. LION staff made strong connections with the union and workers, identified high risk work practices, collected bulk, air and environmental samples, and coordinated medical screening for asbestos-related disease in eleven high risk employees.

Results: The results were used to advise union members about hazards related to their asbestos exposures and to make recommendations for union advocacy to improve plant safety. Not only did LION staff gain exposure assessment skills, but they also made connections with supportive public health professors, a PhD student whose thesis will address early asbestosis in Indonesian workers, and the government’s occupational health minister. They learned which local medical facilities and practitioners are qualified to screen for asbestos related disease. All of the above are critical to LION’s continued ability to impact worker safety. In fact, last July LION was awarded a new grant from Korea Green Asia to perform an exposure assessment at another asbestos processing factory.

Lessons Learned: Social connections, networking and building trust prior to collaboration in Indonesia was very important and slowed the project down, but once established the links were strong and will be used in future endeavors. The main lesson learned was that a small technical grant to a developing country, combined with the support of a knowledgeable mentor, opened up paths for a worker safety advocacy group to make greater impacts on worker safety and bring about social change.

CS-126-06 Personal Breathing Zone Employee Exposure Monitoring for an Anaesthetic Agent at a Research and Development Facility in India

A. Sharma, International Safety Systems, Inc., Faridabad, India; M. Mehta, International Safety Systems, Inc., Washingtonville, NY

Situation/Problem: Immunization and surgeries are performed on rats / mice, as a part of research and development experiments. Immunization is performed by first anaesthetizing rats / mice in an induction chamber and then handing over to the investigators to perform immunization. Isoflurane (anaesthetic agent) vapors are supplied at a fixed concentration along with oxygen to the anaesthetic chambers. The anaesthetic chambers and the investigator work-bench are provided each with a prototype Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) for capturing waste anaesthetic gases. For surgery, isoflurane along with oxygen is supplied for anesthetization (pre-surgery, performed in an induction chamber) and is also supplied during surgery (for life support). A spot extractor (LEV) is available for induction chamber and a prototype LEV is available for surgery. Potential for employee exposure to investigators, surgeons and support staff existed during the routine activities.

Resolution: Full shift/Eight-hour Time Weighted Average (TWA) and/or activity based personal breathing zone employee exposure monitoring for isoflurane was carried out using modified Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 103 method. The results were compared with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE, UK) established Workplace Exposure limit (WEL)-TWA of 50 ppm (for an eight-hour work-shift).

Results: The eight-hour TWA employee exposures to isoflurane was below10 % of the HSE (UK) established WEL-TWA of 50 ppm.

Lessons Learned: The prototype LEVs and the spot extractor were effective in containing employee exposures below the recommended guideline values. When the absolute laboratory reported detection was studied among different employee exposure samples collected for similar surgery procedures, elevated isoflurane detection appeared in one of the samples, potentially due to unavailability of power back-up for the prototype LEV during surgery (as isoflurane supply was not interrupted during power-cut to ensure life support to rats / mice). It is recommended to ensure power back-up for prototype LEVs during surgeries.​