University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Hazardous industrial materials and their effects on the human body
Along with today’s modernization is the fact that people become inevitably susceptible to all kinds of hazards even while in the performance of their professions. This harmful reality reveals that any advancement has its way of getting back at the people and the community in general. This also goes to say that due to human’s apparent irresponsibility and negligence, even the occupation which is supposedly advancing one’s interests is the same factor which poses risks. This endangering condition is very evident in an industrial environment where workers are exposed with various kinds of hazardous materials.
In an objective to meet and keep up with the demands and requirements of the industrial world, employees in the manufacturing, engineering and related businesses are exposed with the perils of the materials that they are using. However, such situation can be prevented, if not stopped, if only industrial workers are aware of essential safety or security practices while at the same time are provided by the business owner with the needed protection and precaution system.
This practice supports the principle of industrial hygiene where work cleanliness or sanitation exists within the industrial environment or is being carried out by the personnel and the organizational set-up in general. The undeniable harmful or even deadly effects of hazardous industrial materials on the human body serve as the grounds for the requirement of promoting and practicing hygiene within the business. In the absence of the said concept or practice, workers’ physical, mental and emotional conditions are endangered for the simple reason that notable hazardous materials are detrimental to the overall quality of human life.
While the scenario is not totally hopeless, the situation definitely calls for an increased awareness on the various types of hazardous materials and their eventual implications to the human body. Aside from this, it is mostly needed that work-related precaution and protection practices, as depiction of industrial hygiene, are upheld with an ultimate goal to reduce, if not totally end the negative effects of hazardous industrial materials.
Industrial Hygiene, an Overview According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA of the U. S. Department of Labor, industrial hygiene refers to the discipline of “anticipating, recognizing, evaluating and controlling workplace conditions that may cause workers’ injury or illness (“Industrial Hygiene,” 1998). It is the science where the so-called industrial hygienists perform various means or approaches of observation and study. These methods are all geared toward the discovery and identification of the scope of industrial employees’ contact and eventual susceptibility to harmful industrial materials.
Additionally, the condition calls for the detection of the industry’s engineering, practice management or organization and related ways to check and contain possible industry-related health risks (“Industrial Hygiene,” 1998). Additionally, the OSHA has generally identified the five types of hazardous industrial materials as follows: “air contaminants, and chemical, biological, physical, and ergonomic hazards” (“Industrial Hygiene,” 1998).
Hence, industrial hygienists are required to be familiar with the said classification of industry materials in order for them to be efficient in distinguishing and assessing existing industrial hazards and at the same time implement ways to control such damaging items (“Industrial Hygiene,” 1998). Hazardous Industrial Materials and Effects to Human Body Based from the OSHA classification, air contaminants are considered “as either particulate or gas and vapor contaminants” (“Industrial Hygiene,” 1998).
These pollutants or toxic materials usually comprised of “dusts, fumes, mists, aerosols and fibers” (“Industrial Hygiene,” 1998). Examples of hazardous chemical materials are “solids, liquids, mists, dusts, fumes and vapors” (“Industrial Hygiene,” 1998). Some of the common effects of these materials to human body is manifested in breathing when they are inhaled, absorption when they directly get in touch with one’s skin or ingestion when they are consumed through the mouth (“Industrial Hygiene,” 1998).
Harmful biological materials are “bacteria, viruses, fungi and other living organisms” which trigger severe and lasting infections (“Industrial Hygiene,” 1998). Physical risks result from extreme degrees of “ionizing and non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, noise, vibration, illumination and temperature” (“Industrial Hygiene,” 1998). Lastly, ergonomic hazards refer to the variety of duties which entail physical actions and bodily strengths (“Industrial Hygiene,” 1998).
The main philosophy of industrial hygiene is for employers and employees to realize the significance of knowing that the materials being used in their respective industrial workplaces are hazardous. Hence, it is essential that these hazardous industrial materials are controlled and well-managed. In the industrial work settings, hazardous materials must be appropriately contained if they are supposedly “toxic, harmful, corrosive, irritant, sensitizing, carcinogenic (causing cancer), mutagenic (causing genetic damage) and teratogenic (causing abnormalities of the fetus)” (“Health effects from hazardous substances in workplaces,” 2008).
Various harmful implications of harmful industrial materials were listed such as inflammation or itchiness of the skin, work-related asthma, systemic poisoning caused by chemical materials, chemical flames coming from corrosives and the fatal cancer (“Health effects from hazardous substances in workplaces,” 2008). Additionally, there are known components which establish that workers are indeed susceptible to the negative effects of harmful industrial materials.
These are due to the quantity and direction of the exposure, workers’ synchronized contact with such materials and experience of negative effects and one’s sensitivity to the hazardous impacts of such substances (“Health effects from hazardous substances in workplaces,” 2008). Khan (2008) corroborated the above-mentioned information when he added that when the hazardous industrial materials eventually become waste, they can already result to death, sickness and damage or impairment to workers.
Most importantly, Khan pointed out that when inappropriately regarded, transferred or moved and thrown away, these hazardous materials which have already turned into hazardous wastes will ultimately damage the surroundings (Khan, 2008). He further explained that various hazardous materials are to be used only with an unusual manner of safety measures. This is for the reason that in doing so, their harmful effects or the risks posed upon to the workers may be lessen.
However, once disposed of, such hazardous substances and wastes are no longer directly contained. Hence they are likely to create particular damage to workers or even other kinds of living things that will have a contact with the said materials (Khan, 2008). Due to such possible harms, Khan emphasized the need for hazardous materials and wastes to be individually processed and controlled from the usual kinds of industrial substances and wastes (Khan, 2008).
In particular, Khan reported that hazardous materials come from various industries such as computer software business where the writing itself of the software creates less harmful materials and wastes. However, it is computer manufacturing that is attributed with a significant amount of alarming hazardous substances and wastes. This is because computer manufacturing engages in many industrial procedures or methods that eventually pave the way for the accumulation of hazardous substances and wastes.
These process include, but not limited to, the creation of a computer circuit board, fiber optics manufacturing and transmission of copper wire (Khan, 2008). The said industrial hazard is also manifested in the agriculture sector where farmers use harmful materials such as herbicides and pesticides which affect one’s immune system and other equally important human organs (Khan, 2008). Khan also suggested ways on how to properly dispose of hazardous materials and wastes which may start in one’s home and must also be practiced in the workplace.
These proposals include even simple safety measures in painting the house during renovation where the toxic substance in paint materials which may cause lung-related diseases and even cancer. Khan further said that even the pollutants and harmful materials we sent out to the environment eventually return and become harmful to the human body. Specifically, excessive fluoride in rivers, lakes and other water forms, which eventually become source of household water, may results into dental and even bone-related implications (Khan, 2008).
Industrial Toxicology To emphasize the destruction created by hazardous materials into the human body, Talty (1988) discussed industrial toxicology which is related with the principle of industrial hygiene. Talty started his discussion by stating the fact that the human body or system lives in a frail balance wherein one exists and functions within a surrounding that is regularly attacked by many harmful substances and occurrences. In effect, this attack against the environment eventually leads to various assaults hurled into the human body.
Talty said that this condition usually happens or is manifested when a person is connected with an industrial-related work setting. Such kind of work place definitely attracts hazardous foreign materials and physical phenomena because of the nature of task that a worker performs (Talty, 1988). According to the author, the defense system of the human body frequently falls short or is unsuccessful in properly protecting one’s body. This is because there is a high concentration of harmful materials in an industrial kind of work setting.
Such work condition becomes an ideal period or opportunity for hazard exposure to exist and eventually poses risks to human body. He further wrote that there are particular considerations for industrial hygienists to look into in establishing the damaging implications of industrial materials. These considerations include the kind of material the nature of the incident. While there are industrial substances which are not directly harmful, there are other materials which are inherently damaging.
Hence, for the identified or positively considered as hazardous substances, different degrees of impacts on worker’s body are to be expected (Talty, 1988). Talty stated that determining the specific factor which considers the quality and manner of hazardous materials’ effect to the human system is what industrial toxicology all about. This kind of examination done on chemical agents which are present within an industrial work setting and which are traced as the source of the hazardous effects to one’s body serves as the main objective of the said field of study.
Above all the various types pf hazardous industrial materials and how they enter the human body system is the primary concern that these harmful substances definitely harm the physical as well as the mental and emotional aspects of an industrial worker. This is because once they entered into the body, these toxic substances act in various manners to damage the body and even the mental and emotional system of a person.
These effects are specifically manifested when said industrial materials act as sources of irritation, asphyxiant and anesthetics which the workers will have to bear (Talty, 1988). Conclusion The philosophy behind industrial hygiene is the idea of properly determining the existence of hazardous industrial substances as well as the efforts to prevent or gradually decrease, if not stop, the inevitable risks that they create. In doing so, an increased awareness through various presentations will definitely help and pave the way for the eventual ending of such kind of work-related problem.
This goes to say that previous attempts are not enough to address and ultimately resolve the concern about the damaging effects brought about by industrial substances. While it is not yet too late to address the issue, what is needed is an increased level of precautionary measures for industrial workers to protect their bodies from unintentional destruction. Employers’ sincere actions to evade from cited harmful practices are ultimately required in order to put a stop to this very alarming work-related menace.