SAFETY AND HEALTH ISSUES
a weekly basis, there are conflicting media
reports indicating that something is good or
bad for us, depending on the study done, the
topic and the amount of press given to it.
However, by reviewing the information and
adding common sense and moderation to our
lifestyles, we are able to discern good from bad,
thus allowing us to lead healthy and safe lives.
Working with composite materials, or any
chemicals for that matter, should be viewed in
the same manner. Know what material is used,
how it is handled, what is known about it and
how to reduce the risk of injury from any haz-
ard associated with it.
From a safety perspective, proven engineer-
ing and administrative
controls exist that can make the workplace
safe if implemented correctly. There are fairly
universal industrial hygiene protocols that
merely need to be implemented to effectively
minimize potential exposure to any hazard,
whether it be chemical or physical.
health issues, there are numerous toxi-
cological papers published on chemicals used
in the composites industry. However, without
a toxicological background or proper analysis
and interpretation of the data, it is difficult to
know what the studies’ conclusions are and,
more importantly, if they are valid.
To assist users in understanding safety and
health issues for composite materials, the
Handbook of Composites. Edited
S.T. Peters. Published
Hall, London. ISBN 0
Safety and Health Subcommittee of the
Suppliers of Advanced Composite Materials
Association (SACMA) researched and pub-
Edn, April 1996).
This chapter is an edited ver-
sion of the booklet, with new information
added as appropriate. The information is not
meant to be inclusive. Rather, the reader
should be aware of the issues addressed and
make further investigation as needed. Note
that data cited was current in 1997.
37.2 HEALTH INFORMATION
It is important to understand the terminology
in order to read and assess toxicological data.
This section will concentrate on some of the
basic terms and definitions that are applicable
to the composite user, especially in reading
Material Safety Data Sheets, the most common
source of information on materials.
TOXIC, HAZARD AND RISK
These three words are used frequently and
sometimes interchangeably. To avoid confu-
sion, they are defined as follows.
refers to a poison or poisonous sub-
stance that may cause a harmful effect in the
body. A substance’s toxicity characteristic is a
property of the chemical, similar to its color or
odor. This is as true for chemicals like water,
salt or sugar as it is for cyanide, snake venom
or botulism toxin (Fig. 37.1).