Inhalation of Metal Working Fluid (MWF) mists that exceed OSHA levels can cause irritation of the lungs, throat and nose. Irritation may affect upper respiratory areas including nose, throat, oral pharynx, lungs, and bronchi. Symptoms reported after inhalation can include sore throat, red and watery eyes, itchy eyes, runny nose and other cold like symptoms. These symptoms can in certain instances exacerbate asthma (both acute and chronic), impair lung function and aggravate emphysema. The degree and severity of irritation and other effects on the respiratory tract is directly proportional to the duration and concentration of exposure.
Currently two OSHA air contaminant permissible exposure limits apply to MWF. They are 5 mg/m3 for an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) for mineral oil mist, and 15 mg/m3 (8-hour TWA), 29 CFR 1910.1000. No other requirements exist.
The American Conference of Governmental Hygienists (ACGIH) threshold limit value (TLV) for mineral oils is 5 mg/m3 for an 8-hour TWA, and 10 mg/m3 for a 15-minute short-term exposure limit (STEL).
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