Lakewood, Colorado, July 13, 2017 – Construction workers across the US are being exposed to harmful asphalt fumes. Employees working with asphalt may also be exposed to particulate matter and crystalline silica since the use of asphalt is commonly associated with sand, gravel and crushed stone. More than 500,000 workers are exposed to asphalt fumes every year1. Prolonged exposure to the fumes can result in headaches, skin rashes, fatigue, throat and eye irritation, coughing, reduced appetite, and even skin cancer. The National Institution for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) determined one of the principal adverse health effects of asphalt fumes is “irritation of the serous membranes of the conjunctivae and mucous membranes of the respiratory tract”2.
We at Mesa Labs urge workers to protect themselves and garner personal protective equipment (PPE) and to strictly follow OSHA guidelines. For more information about OSHA and the Respirable Crystalline Silica guideline, visit our Industrial Hygiene page.