What are Air Contaminants?

Air Contaminants Part 1910.1000

An air contaminant is any substance which is accidentally or unwillingly introduced into the air, having the effect of rendering the air toxic or harmful to some degree. The greatest concern when dealing with hazardous materials is air contamination.
Through inhalation, airborne particles of dust, fumes, vapors, mists, and gases may be taken into the body. These particles can irritate the skin, eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. They may be absorbed into the bloodstream and transported to affect additional organs.
Airborne contaminants present a significant threat to worker health and safety. Thus, identification and quantification of these contaminants through air monitoring is an essential component of every company's health and safety program. Reliable measurements of airborne contaminants are useful for:
  • Selecting personal protective equipment;
  • Delineating areas where protection is needed;
  • Assessing the potential health effects of exposure; and
  • Determining the need for specific medical monitoring.

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