Chemicals and Processes


The Industrial Hygiene Perspective

From the point of view of industrial hygiene, what are the hazardous work processes? Within each process, what are the chemical exposures?

". . . the first step to be taken in a preventive program in occupational health is the identification or recognition of potential health hazards. Mastery of this process is based on thorough knowledge of industrial materials and processes. Without this knowledge it is difficult for the surveyor to identify those industrial processes that have the potential to cause occupational disease." [Burgess]

Linking Industrial Processes to Hazardous Chemicals: An Example

The following two tables, based on "Recognition of Health Hazards in Industry" by William A. Burgess list the processes and chemical exposures for:

  1. Metal Preparation (abrasive blasting);

  2. Product Fabrication (forging, melting & pouring, machining, and welding);

  3. Finishing (electroplating and metal thermal spraying);


Exposures in Metal Preparation, Fabrication and Finishing:

Dusts and Metal Fumes

Silica: Si
Fluorides, Inorganic: Fl
Nickel: Ni
Cadmium: Cd
Lead: Pb
Chromium: Cr
Manganese: Mn
Beryllium: Be
Cobalt: Co
Aluminum: Al
Barium, Soluble: Ba
Zinc: Zn
  Si Fl Ni Cd Pb Cr Mn Be Co Al Ba Zn
Abrasive Blasting x   x x x x            
Melting & Pouring x x x x x x x x   x   x
Metal Machining     x     x   x x      
Metallizing     x x x x     x      
Electroplating     x x   x     x      
Welding   x x x x x x     x x x
Gas Cutting & Welding       x x             x

Metal exposures depend upon the specific metals used in the process.


Exposures in Metal Preparation, Fabrication and Finishing:

Gases, Vapors and Particulates

Carbon Monoxide: CO
Nitrogen Dioxide: NO2
Ozone: O3
Sulfur Dioxide: SO2
Arsine: AsH3
Cyanide: CN
Hydrogen Sulfide: H2S
Hydrogen Fluoride: HF
Hydrogen Chloride: HCl
Sulfuric Acid: H2SO4
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons: PAH
Metalworking Fluids: MWF
Abrasive Blasting                        
Forging x                   x x
Melting & Pouring x     x             x  
Metal Machining                       x
Electroplating   x     x x x x x x    
Welding x x x                  
Gas Welding/Cutting x x                    


  Revised May 30, 2018

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