Reference method for PCDDs and PCDFs in pulp and paper mill effluents: section 3

Section 3: Safety

Although the degree of toxicity has not been precisely established for all compounds used or analyzed by this method, each one should be treated as a potential health hazard and exposure to any of them should be minimized as much as possible (EC and HWC, 1990).

All work related to analyzing PCDDs and PCDFs, including preparation, handling and storage of all samples and standards, should be carried out in a specially designed laboratory. Such a facility should include the following design/operational specifications:

  • restricted access;
  • sufficient ventilation;
  • negative pressure relative to surrounding areas;
  • all exhaust air ducts routed to a common, scrubbed outlet;
  • full operational capability on auxiliary power if a commercial power failure occurs;
  • an independent backup air supply system designed to operate if the building's common air supply system shuts down;
  • capacity to visually monitor ventilation performance;
  • distinctive audio and visual alarm systems to alert all building personnel to potentially hazardous conditions.

Personnel in the lab must wear protective clothing at all times, consisting of safety glasses, disposable coveralls, disposable foot coverings (optional), and disposable gloves. Other personal protective devices, such as face masks and cartridge or canister respirators, should be available in the lab in the event of a minor spill. Common laboratory safety equipment and facilities, such as safety showers, first aid kits, eye wash stations, and fire extinguishers must be easily accessible.

Only experienced and specially-trained personnel who are fully aware of the hazards associated with the chemicals under study, should be involved in these analyses. Laboratory safety policies must be established, covering such topics as safe and secure handling and storage of PCDDs and PCDFs, housekeeping, spill containment and cleanup, and containment of solid and liquid wastes. Copies of these policies must be provided to lab personnel, and they must be adhered to strictly.

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