Lansing, MI, November 26th, 2012 -- Earlier this month, an explosion at an ink factory injured seven workers. All seven were taken to a nearby hospital and three were later treated at a special medical center for first and second-degree burns. The event happened at a New Jersey plant that produces black newspaper ink that is made from carbon black and other materials.
The accident is reported to have taken place when a carbon compound ignited. Both the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Chemical Safety Board are investigating the incident. Investigators have taken dust samples as they try to pinpoint the exact cause of the blast and fire.
Carbon black, also known as Lamp black, Furnace black, Thermal black, and Channel black, will likely be a focal point of the investigation. Carbon black is used by industry to strengthen and color rubber. It is also used to color inks, coatings, plastics and leather, and to insulate electrical equipment. In confined spaces, carbon black is considered to be a potential combustible dust hazard.
The ABIH, who administer the Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) certification program, recently cosponsored a video about carbon black and exposure risks to workers. “CIHs are uniquely qualified to anticipate, recognize, evaluate and control health hazards, including issues related to carbon black,” reported Tracy Parsons, CIH, Administrative Program Manager at ABIH. “In addition to explosion hazards, inhaling carbon black particles can affect the lungs and possibly result in lung disease. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified carbon black as a Group 2B, meaning possibly carcinogenic to humans. We hope this video reminds employers and workers of the possible risks associated with carbon black and that CIHs are trained to evaluate hazards and protect people from these types of hazards.”
To view the video about carbon black exposure risks, please visit:
About the American Board of Industrial Hygiene
Since 1960, ABIH, a not-for-profit corporation, has been the world's largest, premier organization for certifying professionals in the practice of industrial hygiene. ABIH is responsible for ensuring high-quality certification including education, experience, examination, certification maintenance and ethics enforcement.