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CARES ITS DUM 8S DIRECTORNTE ENED + et 7 239 case "0.922 Peat eas a WORKPLACE HEALTH and SAFETY Ou tet Wecrone Mr. K Priestley Acting General Manager, Standards and Inspection Dept. of Primary Industry Brisbane Fax 239 6292 Iecember 1995 ‘There are a number of health and safety concems with the use of this chemical, PISS 3711S OH 8 S DIRECTORATE «ERED + Gt 7 205 6252 No.9e2 Foaeva8s ‘The Health and Safety Executive in the United Kingdom has established a ‘ maximum exposure limit’ of 0.5 ppm and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the U.S.A. has proposed a standard of 0.1 ppm. Both are occupational limits. It is considered that such low levels of occupational exposure would be difficult to achieve given the conditions and the frequency of ‘treatments required. Nevertheless, by stringent application of control, ‘measures, in particular the use of supplied air or full face canister respirators, adequate protection should be possible, but only where a high level of compliance can be achieved. With no specific canister for EDB thef@s Some concern about the level of protection afforded by canfsterstype respirators, which points to the supplied air respirator gs the one of choice. As air compressors in this environment are likely to entrain fumigant or fork lift exhaust gases, cylinders of medical air are considered the safest choice of air supply, necessitating-considerable effort to achieve safe conditions of work. (Of greater conéefn With EDBis the potential for exposure of other workers and the general pubic to significant levels of gas. (Other Workers af lly to be exposed through the off-gassing of the EDB following fumigation. Forklift drivers, truck drivers, unloaders and market personnel could be subjected to significant levels without ‘any realisation. Because of the relatively high freezing point of EDB (9°C ) there is the possibility of quite slow release under cool conditions and therefore a long chain of exposed people is quite conceivable. Finally, there is concem over the levels of exposure to members of the public from the regular release of gas from these chambers. As these facilities are all workplaces, this Division has a responsibility to ensure that their operation does not endanger the health and safety ‘of the general public. For EDB, the risk is such that it becomes difficult to ensure public health and safety because of the very low levels of exposure which are considered acceptable for this group. a0 rie Pee ssi re 1235 17:15 DUM 8 S DIRECTORATE cane) + 61 7 259 6252 No.9e2 Peasveas In conclusion, while it may be possible to set stringent conditions Which control the exposure of fimigators, it appears much more difficult to provide the necessary level of protection for other workers both on and off the place of fumigation. Further, to provide for the health and safety of the general public in the vicinity of these facilites, itis likely that separation distances of such magnitude will bbe required as to make the use of this chemical impractical. ‘Accordingly, for reasons of health and safety, this Division supports the withdrawal of ethylene dibromide as a furnigant for this control program. Dr. David Smith Principal Medical Officée Division of Workplace Health and Safety