Date of Award

Fall 1997

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Safety and Health Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

First Advisor

One-Jang Jeng

Second Advisor

Richard B. Trattner

Third Advisor

Norman J. Van Houten

Abstract

The rapid increase in the number and quantities of chemicals released into the environment has been accompanied by a lack of adequate pre-released testing for advance health outcomes. Chemicals which serve as feed stock to millions of industries all around the world to produce and process food, cosmetics, equipment, and energy to propel industries, automobiles, home heating and electricity have serious adverse health consequences. They are hazardous. These substances can explode, ignite, react and corrode. Adapting the definition of the international program on chemical safety, a "hazard" is a source of danger. This thesis proposes some proactive prevention techniques useful to reduce the risk or potential for harm by chemicals at work place and environment. The methods described in the following paragraphs are traditional, advanced methods and innovative techniques found effective against chemical exposure. Known points of entry into the body through ingestion, inhalation and dermal pathways are discussed, including the mechanism of action of cells under the influence of hazardous chemicals.

It begins with cellular interaction of ligands or chemicals in the body after ingestion, inhalation or dermal exposure. The binding of the ligands and the receptor cells produces reactions that inhibit or activate cells, resulting in abnormal physiological response. To prevent this from occurring, some proactive measures are proposed. Foremost on the list is personal hygiene and good housekeeping, followed by avoidance technique, containment, legislation and guidelines. They form the core of traditional technique. Complementary to that is the advanced methods and innovative techniques which explore new ways of industrial production and hazardous waste disposal that are safe and environmentally friendly. The use and advantages of microwave energy as a safe and most effective method for industrial heating, material processing and organic synthesis over the conventional methods are discussed. The thesis also discusses phytoremediation, the use of species of plants to clean up contaminant as a revolutionary method for safe, efficient and environmentally friendly method for hazardous waste treatment and remediation.

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