ASTM International Subcommittee E34.50 on Health and Safety Standards for Metalworking Fluids has developed three new standards. Two of the recently approved ASTM standards cover aspects of water-miscible metalworking fluids, while the third concerns prevention of dermatitis in the wet metal removal fluid environment.
Dermatitis is an inflammatory response of the skin to a chemical or physical agent. While redness, swelling and itching are typical signs of dermatitis, symptoms can be more severe as well.
A new ASTM standard, ASTM E2693, Practice for Prevention of Dermatitis in the Wet Metal Removal Fluid Environment, discusses dermatitis and its causes and presents a comprehensive approach to dermatitis prevention and fluid management, including advice on equipment design, fluid and additive selection, maintenance procedures and mist control.
“No previous standard existed to address prevention of dermatitis, which is the most common occupational illness associated with metal removal fluids,” says Slavin. “Primary users of ASTM E2693 will be employers who use metal removal fluids in machining operations as coolants, lubricants and cutting or grinding oils.”
“Historically, the primary tool for determining microbial contamination in MWF was by culturing samples,” says Frederick Passman, president, Biodeterioration Control Associates Inc., and chair, E34.50. “Depending on the microbe of interest, it can take anywhere from 24 hours to 20 days to get an accurate picture. However, ASTM E2694 provides data in less than 10 minutes. This is a powerful tool for both fluid management and for determining whether there’s likely to be a significant bioaerosol exposure risk.”
Passman notes that, in contrast to ASTM E2694, which detects all actively growing bacteria and fungi, the endotoxin test in ASTM E2657 specifically detects biomolecules known to cause respiratory disease. “ASTM E2657 will probably be used more as a diagnostic tool in facilities where respiratory illness has been reported,” Passman says. “In this application, ASTM E2657 will be a valuable tool for determining whether endotoxin exposure is likely to be contributing to respiratory disease in a facility.”
The subcommittee is currently looking for participants for an interlaboratory study for ASTM E2657 and ASTM E2694. “We plan to use a single set of MWF for both standards, so labs who are interested in either or both are welcome to participate,” says Passman. “A few labs will run both the ILS’s for both standards, while most will run one or the other.”
Subcommittee E34.50 is part of ASTM International Committee E34 on Occupational Health and Safety. The subcommittee welcomes participation in its activities, especially a new project on control of respiratory health hazards in the metal removal fluid environment.
“Anyone with information on health effects, fluid management practices, testing and maintenance, selection and use of additives, engineering control methods, safe work practices, air monitoring, medical surveillance, communication or training can make a valuable contribution to our efforts,” says Thomas Slavin, global safety and health director, Navistar Inc., and a subcommittee member.
ASTM International welcomes and encourages participation in the development of its standards. ASTM’s open consensus process, using advance Internet-based standards development tools, ensures worldwide access for all interested individuals. For more information on becoming an ASTM member, please contact Kevin Shanahan, ASTM International (phone: 610-832-9737; firstname.lastname@example.org).