Document Detail

Effectiveness of common shelter-in-place techniques in reducing ammonia exposure following accidental release.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19191164     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Shelter-in-place strategies such as remaining indoors; breathing through a damp cloth; sealing cracks in windows and doors using towels, duct tape, or plastic sheeting; and running a shower are often recommended by emergency response officials to protect against accidental or intentional release of hazardous airborne chemicals and biologicals. Similar recommendations have been made to and used by community members exposed to anhydrous ammonia after catastrophic release of ammonia gas due to a derailment or other accidents. Such incidents have resulted in fatalities and serious injury to exposed individuals; however, other individuals within the same area have escaped injury and, in many cases, sustained no injuries as a result of sheltering-in-place. Although there are some studies that have evaluated the effectiveness of remaining in the home or breathing through a damp cloth to reduce exposure to various agents, there have been no studies that directly address the efficacy of running the shower in reducing exposure to ammonia gas. The present study was designed to simulate sheltering-in-place inside a typical bathroom with the shower running. The effectiveness of breathing through a damp cloth was also evaluated using a CPR mannequin placed inside a chamber built to represent a typical household bathroom. Ammonia gas at 300 or 1000 ppm was added to the chamber until the concentration peaked and stabilized, then the shower was turned on and the ammonia gas concentration was continuously monitored. In the mannequin studies, using a damp cloth reduced exposure to ammonia gas by 2- to 18-fold. Turning on the shower was even more effective at reducing ammonia levels. After 27 min, the ammonia concentration in the chamber was reduced to 2% of the initial concentration, even though gas was being continuously added to the chamber. These results indicate that use of shelter-in-place strategies substantially reduces ammonia exposure and that by combining shelter-in-place strategies, inhalation of ammonia gas can be reduced 100-fold even during prolonged exposure periods.
Brett Tarkington; Angela J Harris; Paul S Barton; Ben Chandler; Phillip T Goad
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Evaluation Studies; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of occupational and environmental hygiene     Volume:  6     ISSN:  1545-9632     ISO Abbreviation:  J Occup Environ Hyg     Publication Date:  2009 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-02-04     Completed Date:  2009-04-09     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101189458     Medline TA:  J Occup Environ Hyg     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  248-55     Citation Subset:  IM    
Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Air Pollution, Indoor
Ammonia / analysis*,  chemistry
Hazardous Substances / analysis*
Inhalation Exposure / analysis,  prevention & control*
Protective Devices
Risk Assessment
Water / chemistry*
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Hazardous Substances; 7664-41-7/Ammonia; 7732-18-5/Water

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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